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BBQ Tour Stop #9 – Boats, Bands & Bar-B-Que Pueblo, CO

June 9, 2009
Chris and I pulled into Pueblo, CO for the Boats, Bands and Bar-B-Que event on the downtown Riverwalk a day early to do a bit of sightseeing in the area. We took in the Royal Gorge train ride, which was well worth the trip.

Erin Regrutto and the Harp Authority did a great job organizing the event and the location was beautiful. We loaded into the event early to beat the crowds, which worked out great since we were in the midst of the vending teams.

Friday afternoon brought a quick shower and we were told by the locals to just be patient and it would clear quickly, which it did. The rest of the evening was nice and overcast so it brought out the crowds. The Riverwalk had an amphitheater where the bands played to the grassy hills on both sides of the river.

We were set up on the bridge with vending teams. This funneled the crowds directly past us and into where the teams were located. In the parking lot right off the street, the Arizona contingent with Rhythm ‘n QUE, Sweet Peppers and four other teams was set up. We met with some new Certified Barbeque Judges who completed the class on Thursday evening. We also met a couple of first time teams – Kelly’s BBQ and Sinful Que were a couple that come to mind.

Saturday was a beautiful day and we had a special visitor. Ernie and Linda Poland’s son Chris Poland came down to judge the contest and stopped by the trailer. Ernie and Linda were nice enough to fill in for us a couple of weeks ago in Sevierville when our kids graduated high school.

As we were visiting with people, a couple of little boys came up to Chris and asked her how much it cost for the BBQ Tour. She told them that it was a lot of money and she almost laughed out loud when they replied “to go in and look at the BBQ Tour?” She gave them a tour of the trailer along with a complimentary bottle of water. We also had another fun moment when one of the vending teams came down and asked if we were the ones passing out free Tums. She was grateful because a couple of her workers were planning to indulge in some great BBQ and needed some help from Tums.

We were able to see a part of the awards ceremony until the wind picked up and I heard our tent poles pinging on the pavement. Chris and I broke down our tent in record time to keep it from flying into the river. Speaking of flying into the river, there is a tradition at the event where the Grand Champions go swimming in the water… swimming or cannonballs. You should have seen the enthusiasm that was shown by the Sweet Peppers team as they hit the water!

I guess that Team Danny went in the river one year and forgot to empty their pockets of prize money and cell phones. So Merl Whitebook gave a warning before announcing the winners. The event organizers even awarded special towels to the Grand Champions. One other perk was revealed on Friday evening when the organizers brought around event shirts, refreshments and ice cream to each team as a special “thank you” for attending the Boats, Bands and Bar-B-Que event.

We head to Tryon for the next stop on the BBQ Tour. We are looking forward to the same hospitality that we encountered last year at the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival.

Mike (& Chris) Peters
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