FACT: There's been an 18% increase in contest participation by members in the past year    
FACT: 64% of KCBS members own three or more grills/smokers    
FACT: 70% of our members grill-out/cook BBQ more than 25 times per year    
FACT: 56% of Americans report having a smartphone, 77% of KCBS members do    
FACT: 70% of KCBS members use Facebook    
FACT: 55% of members choose charcoal when cooking for leisure    
FACT: 23% of KCBS members work in the food service industry as a restauranteur or caterer    
FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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An Amazin' Good Time!

August 18, 2008
Wow, after two months of traveling the highways and byways, it sure was nice to get home for a couple of weeks. We celebrated our oldest daughter's college graduation and I got to fire up the smoker after being teased by the wonderful tastes and smells of BBQ at all of the contests we have been at.

While it was nice to be home, it sure felt good to get back on the road again and we could not have asked for a nicer place to travel to than the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, Tennessee, just East of Nashville.

Kristina met us at the gate and directed us to a great spot (with TREES) right across from the judging pavilion. The county fair runs over two weekends with the KCBS sanctioned Amazin' Blazin' BBQ Cookoff held during the first weekend. We got to meet most of the KCBS board members (they almost had a quorum!) and visited with some of the cookers. This contest is very special and a MUST attend event when they are scheduling their events for the year.

We even got to meet Ray Lampe who is better known as Dr. BBQ. He even spent part of his Saturday evening keeping Chris company as she was passing out samples and information. While he has been super busy, he told us that he always makes time to come to Lebanon for this contest to catch up with cooking buddies.

We also learned that the "Southern" way is not shaking hands but "hugging". These people are "huggers" and it really touched us how even just meeting them, we felt like "family". I know that all my fellow BBQ friends know just what I mean.

We met another new team at the contest and when we saw them at the gas station Sunday morning, they told us that they weren't last at the contest and will be mailing in their membership applications to KCBS. Speaking of placing and awards, the awards ceremony was held in a outdoor area where the seating was split logs and sawdust on the ground in front of an old log cabin porch. The teams each took home customized cedar aluminum foil boxes and in years past have received aprons, turn in box covers, and other things that can be used in their cooking and travels. The judges not only got a belly full of great BBQ, but also custom "medals" with the Amazin' Blazin' logo... This truly was a first-class event in every sense of the word!

When we pulled out of the event Saturday night, people were still streaming in and cars were backed up on the interstate for at least a mile. Listening to the nightly news, Friday and Saturday had broken attendance records and considering that the weather was in the mid eighties, I can sure see why.

Kristina was there Sunday morning as we pulled the trailer out with a big smile on her face. The BBQ committee should be very proud of the event and we hope to be back next year for their 13th annual Amazin' Blazin' BBQ Cookoff!
Now it is off to Salt Lake City for another BBQ contest and we will be coming away from the event as new Certified BBQ Judges. We are both registered to take the class from Ed Roith prior to the contest at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake.
Remember to honk and wave when you pass us on the road!!
Mike & Chris
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