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Hot Time in Hot Springs!

September 22, 2008
The Hot Springs "Smoke on the Water" BBQ Competition sure lived up to its name. There were close to 100 teams competing in the second cook-off of the two-part series vying for over $100,000 in prize money.

Chris and I got to the event on Thursday which was a good thing because we did not have the "right" connection for electrical. It seems like every place that we go, the electrical set-up is just a bit different. So after a late afternoon run to Lowes and still being short a connector, we just sat back and watched cook team after cook team roll into the event.

Friday morning we found an electrical wholesaler who had the right part and headed back to the event. I will say this about the electrical set-up: these guys had it down pat. About every 50 feet or so was a metal box on wheels that had all the connections and breakers inside - these were all connected to big generators so everybody was about 50 feet at the most from a connection.

The teams close to us were using Jambo pits (Jambo pits placed 1st, 2nd & 4th) and Doug with Ritter's BBQ almost had me talked into one... Ok, he almost talked Chris into one and promised to get it painted pink for her...maybe this will be on our Christmas "wish list.  Double D BBQ Team just got his Jambo a couple of days before the event and was like the little kid at Christmas who just got his dream gift. It really was a beautiful cooker.

I've related this before but it really is interesting how I seem to have gone through stages in life where I can remember going to O'Reilly's auto parts store and walking every aisle looking at parts... getting older and spending time at Sears in the tool aisle... loving to browse Lowes and Home Depot for hours on end just looking at things that I think I can use and now at this point in life where I love nothing more than going to the outlet malls and shopping the kitchen stores. When we were in Salt Lake, we went to the Williams Sonoma store and I thought I was in heaven... heck, Chris and I spent 45 minutes last night in a Barnes and Noble looking for my next BBQ Cookbook!

OK, back to Hot Springs... When you have a KCBS pop-up tent at an event, everybody thinks that you are also the information booth for the event which happened more than once here. Friday night as we were packing things up, we had a team approach us for directions on setting up - seems they got a late start and were just showing up to the event - after calling the organizer on the phone, we set them up right across from us and, boy, if we had only known! Their team name was Boars Night Out and it started as six divorced guys who liked to cook. Hooters is one of their sponsors and they sure liked to have fun. I didn't notice it much on Saturday but Chris claimed that they were "heckling" me with a bullhorn while I was on stage doing our demonstration. We had some fun with them during the sampling and they turned out to be a great bunch of guys.

The awards were handed out Saturday afternoon and the teams were paid down to the 20th place. I think the biggest surprise of the day, at least to this team, was the second place rib finish for the TAT BBQ Team. We were siting right behind them when they got the call and extreme shock and surprise comes close to what they experienced. It kinda reminded us of our winning the rib event at Rock'n Ribs in Springfield in April. You could not wipe the grin off the guy's face. It really was a nice moment that I am sure he will remember for quite some time. That and the nice check he received! 

Speaking of checks though - Rod & Sheri Gray with Pellet Envy got the biggest check of them all. They won the Grand Champion award for best overall score and took home a check for $10,000. Plus all the "little" checks for placing in the categories. Makes it worth the drive from KC to Hot Springs - doesn't it?

We had a great time meeting teams and running into old friends. Ran into Brad with Smokin in the Dark who works for the bank that I used to work at. Troy with Learn2Q was there and we hadn't seen him since we passed him for the third time on the way home from Reno. Johnny and Trish with Smoking Triggers stopped by to say hello also, and we got to visit with Mike and Debbie of Lotta Bull and visited about one of their new sponsors from our old stomping grounds back in Kansas. 

We're in Omaha a couple of days early for the River City Roundup BBQ event doing some sampling at one of the local grocery store chains and are looking forward to the huge event next weekend - the American Royal BBQ contest in Kansas City.

It is hard to believe that we have been on the road for the past four months. This has been such a fun time.
We'll let you know how Omaha goes - Larry the Cable Guy is at the Qwest Center on Saturday night... Git - R - Done!

Mike & Chris
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