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Region Two prepares to send 10 on to Bentonville

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October 11, 2013

The Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour is making its way to its final regional qualifying event in Midwest City, Okla. this Saturday. Thirty top placing teams from this mid-western BBQ hotspot will soon be filling the local Sam’s Club with that iconic smoke and enough competitive energy to rival a playoff football game. At the end of the weekend, ten teams will advance on to the series final in Bentonville. The battle for those coveted ten spots will be a fierce one as each and every team present packs a powerhouse of carefully crafted BBQ know-how, skill and passion.

“It’s a stacked field,” said David Qualls, pitmaster for the American Dream BBQ. “There’s probably 18 in this field of 30 that any of those 18 can knock this thing out of the park. I’m not discrediting anyone.”

Though the American Dream BBQ team has only been competing for two years, they’ve managed to make it to 30 contests in their second year alone. It’s safe to say they’ve got the BBQ bug and have been making quick strides to make their name known in the circuit. 

Still in their first year for competition barbecue, Dirt Road BBQ will be making their debut appearance at a Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour regional event. Dirt Road BBQ earned their way in to the regional from their Grand Champion call at the Overland Park contest in April.   

“We’ve been competing in a lot of contests throughout the Kansas City area to stay in practice,” said Karen Murphy, of Dirt Road BBQ. “This is our first full year competing and we’re just hoping to make it to the top ten so we can get to the finals.” 

While there certainly seems to be a fair share of younger competition teams, the Region 2 final will also welcome some of the more prestigious teams currently known in KCBS. The grand champion and the reserve grand champion from the open division of the American Royal, Iowa’s Smokey D’s and Clark Crew BBQ, will be in attendance, as well as the current-standing KCBS Team of the Year, Truebud BBQ.

“Our consistency is our success for this year,” said Tim Grant, pitmaster for Truebud BBQ. “A lot of teams can’t put four categories together. I’ve been there. You can be so close, yet so far away."  

Truebud has the advantage of having competed in the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour series since its inception. While it may seem like old hat, Truebud is still going in to this competition fully equipped, binders of notes and all.

“I don’t go to any contest not expecting to win. I’m very competitive and I love cooking against the best teams. At the end of the day, my goal is to make it in the top ten, but I also want to do the best that I can,” said Grant.

As it stands now, the Region 2 title can by anyone’s claim. Best of luck to the 30 teams competing this weekend.

…And after this, it’s onward to Bentonville!       

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