Region 3 of the Samís Club National BBQ Tour Heats UpJuly 30, 2014
The stage is just about set and ready to welcome the top teams in Region 3 to battle it out for 10 exclusive spots to represent the region at the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour Final. Region 3, which covers the upper Midwest, has developed quite a reputation for being a competitive region in the tournament. A quick look at the team roster for the Madison event and you’re sure to see why. With former series champions, high ranking Team of the Year teams – both past and present – and general top placing teams, this is one competition not to be taken lightly.
“This is probably the toughest competition we’ll face all year,” said Darren Warth, pitmaster of Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ. “You always kind of look through the team list and say, ‘okay, here’s a good team’, and you can usually identify 7 or 8 teams that you’d personally pick to win that event, today, I looked through and there’s 17 out of 30 that I would personally pick to win.”
Echoing similar thoughts, Bubba Knapp of Bubba-Q’s said, “We just have to make sure that we are on top of our game. It’s going to be a very tough competition.”
Having taken a brief hiatus from the competition circuit in 2011 in order to get their restaurant up and running, Bubba-Q’s is back in the game.
“We’re going to make sure that we focus in. We’ve got high quality meats and we’re going to cook it the best that we can,” said Knapp.
But the caliber of competition aside, when it comes down to “game day”, the only thing you can worry about, and the only thing you have complete control over, is your individual team’s performance and overall mentality.
“You can’t win if you don’t think you can win,” said Warth. “We just play to win. If you go in to a cook with a negative mentality that you’re not going to win, chances are, you’re not going to win. But if you go in with the mentality that this is mine to lose, then you’re probably going to do well.”
At this point, Saturday’s contest is anyone’s for the taking. Congratulations to each of the teams who have made it to the regional level!