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Great American BBQ Tour Stop #7 – The Great American Barbecue Festival Bonner Springs, KS

May 27, 2009
The road to Kansas City, KS and the Great American Barbecue (GAB) took us through Murphysboro, IL to the famous 17th Street Bar and Grill of The Legend, Mike Mills. OK…it was slightly out of the way but when you are that close, you must take that detour. When we walked in the door, we passed the Grand World Champion Memphis in May trophies and the celebrated bar with the flying pig hanging above it. We also recognized a lot of the pictures on the wall from Mike and his daughter Amy’s book, "Peace, Love and Barbecue".

Mike was in the corner table with friends Tina, Bryan and little Alex. They invited us to join them for dinner. Chris and I had the half rack of ribs. I can truly say that they were KCBS-quality tender with a great taste. One of his restaurant’s shirts has a Mike Mill’s quote, “Life is too short for a half rack.” I agree and will order the full rack next time!

The GAB is a unique event that has been held at the Woodlands Racetrack in the past. This year it was held at the Sandstone Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, KS. The event has an Invitational Contest on Saturday for the past year’s grand champions in sauces, sides, appetizers, wings and dessert. A Kids Que event and an Open Contest were held on Sunday. The GAB hosted the World Brisket Open to crown the best Brisket in the World. I had our good friend Chris Marks, the General Manager of Ace of Hearts™, show us how to properly trim out a brisket. That was just one of the highlights of my weekend.

Another fun part of the weekend was spending time with Kim, Andy and the HoDeDo’s and our friends with Clark Kent Super Smokers. We also ran into a couple of fellows that we first met in Little Rock – Jerry Bressel and Mike Garrison of the Flying Judges. Since they are from the Kansas City area, they didn’t have to fly in but have flown to quite a few events since Little Rock.

We were also fortunate enough to have Chris’ sister and brother in-law, Allene and Dave, come up to help us out for the weekend. While we enjoy our BBQ family, it was extra special to share the weekend with these two.

There was another team that we met earlier this year in Indio, CA that made the long trek to compete, Harry Soo and the Slap Yo Daddy BBQ Team from California. Slap Yo Daddy ended up winning Reserve Grand Champion and taking a nice check back home to California. Habitual Smokers won Grand Champion.

It was a beautiful weekend and the rain held off until the final awards ceremony. The MC was the local weatherman. You would have thought that he would have talked faster if he had known that rain was coming.

Mike (& Chris) Peters
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