Region Three sends 10 on to Sam's FinalAugust 6, 2013
Comprised of the highly competitive Midwestern states, Region Three fired up the smokers for a definitive weekend of sending off 10 more teams onward to Bentonville. Region Three is home to the previous two Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour champions, TippyCanoe BBQ Crew, who won in 2011 and Lucky’s Q, who took the title in 2012. This region also lays claim to multiple teams who have consistently ranked highly in the KCBS Team of the Year standings. Needless to say, the final for Region Three was, undoubtedly, a very close “smoke-out”.
It was an incredibly beautiful summer day in Rockford, Ill., the city that warmly welcomed thirty teams to its local Sam’s Club. Energy and confidence levels were high for each of the teams who knew exactly what was at stake: the chance to move on to compete at Bentonville for the $50,000 check and the reigning champion’s title for another 365 days. When the cook time was up, the teams placed their hard work and proven flavor profiles in the hands of the trained judges, and patiently waited with fingers crossed in hopes of hearing their name called among the top ten places.
Even those not competing caught a glimpse of the competitive nature as the awards ceremony began. With identical scores of 179.440, QUAU claimed first place in brisket and the Smoke Hunters took first in pork. The BBQSuperstore.com took top honors for ribs and TippyCanoe BBQ Crew took home the first place prize for in chicken. Though top finishing category calls are certainly a good indication on final standings, teams cannot uncross those fingers until all is said and done.
The Grand Champion’s call of the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour Region Three final went to TheBBQSuperstore.com with a final score of 683.9544. The team qualified from the Traverse City local event, where they took home Reserve Grand, following right behind QUAU. The battle for the Reserve Grand spot in this region was a close one, and it came down to a difference of .0116 of a point. In the end, the call went to Grills Gone Wild Iowa, with a score of 683.3712, followed by QUAU. Gilly’s BBQ landed a fourth place win, Big T’z Q Cru came in fifth, followed by Second City Smoke in sixth place. Smoker’s Purgatory claimed their ticket to Bentonville with a seventh place finish while TippyCanoe BBQ Crew and Pigskin BBQ, with identical scores of 674.8000 placed eighth and ninth, respectively. Lastly, but by no means least, Lucky’s Q claimed the tenth place call, securing the opportunity to maintain their current status as the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour reigning champions.
With this lineup alone, you can bet Bentonville will prove to be one fierce competition, particularly with both the 2011 and 2012 champs back in the race. As many of the teams will say, you just never know who will take home the title and until awards come around in Bentonville, the series could be anyone’s game.
The tour is officially in the homestretch! Congratulations to all of the teams who have secured their place at Bentonville, and best of luck to all those still competing for their way to the championship final on October 19.