Region One prepares to send 10 on to BentonvilleSeptember 12, 2013
The flames are growing hotter in Region 1 of the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour! This Saturday, the top 30 teams from the southeastern pocket of the country will fire it up in Hendersonville, Tenn. in hopes of securing one of 10 coveted spots to represent the region at the tour final in Bentonville, Ark. With a hefty prize purse and major bragging accolades on the line, this is one serious competition.
At this point, the Grand Champion call is anyone’s bid, but there is a handful of incredibly competitive teams vying for one of the top ten calls in this region. Warren Co. Pork Choppers, the team currently sitting at second place for KCBS Team of the Year, is included in Saturday’s line-up, in addition to several now seasoned teams to the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour.
“There are 30 teams, and there are 30 good teams that are going to be there,” said Walt Moulton, pitmaster for Rocky Top Barbeque, the Grand Champion team from the Knoxville local event. “It’s going to be interesting; somebody’s gotta finish last and I hope it ain’t me! But every team that’s there has got a chance to win.”
The Pit Crew, a backyard team turned pro in 2011, is revving its engines for the weekend’s big match as well.
“We are going to Hendersonville with a new smoker built by Southern Q and the second highest scores in our region,” said Tina Cannon, pitmistress for The Pit Crew, who took home the Grand Champion call in Daphne. “I am gunning for a top 10 in all categories and a top 5 in chicken.” The Pit Crew recently took home a second place call in chicken and is hoping to keep the streak of top calls going.
While walking away with a Grand Champion call is the preferred outcome of any competition, when it comes to a regional event like this, most teams seem to be content in making it to the top ten.
“My goal is to move on; finish in the top ten,” said Rub Bagby, pitmaster for Swamp Boys, who took home the Grand Champion call in Tampa. After a mid-30s overall series placement in 2012, Swamp Boys is eager to get back in the Bentonville game.
“I know I have good barbeque; its worked well across the southeast, I’m just hoping we get better tables this year – more luck with the judges. Good barbeque is good barbeque,” said Bagby.
“Moving over to Bentonville… that’s a game-changer for a lot of people,” said Waylon Walker, pitmaster for Waylon’s Wickedly Good Q, the Grand Champion team from North Charleston. “It’s very prestigious to get to Bentonville. That’s our goal, and we’re gonna give it our all and see what happens.” Waylon’s Wickedly Good Q is one of the few “hot and fast” teams in the circuit.
“I’m not necessarily competing against all those other teams, I’m competing against myself. If I hit my marks and do what I gotta do, I’m not worried about the guy across the way,” said Walker.
The final hours to competition time are here and many teams are on the road to Hendersonville already. Best of luck to each and every team competing this weekend!