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BBQ Tour Stop #18 - Corn Palace Festival

September 11, 2009
Chris and I headed out to Mitchell, SD for the Corn Palace Festival and stopped in Kansas City to see our friends Kim and Andy. We took in lunch at Oklahoma Joe’s and did a little shopping at the Kansas City BBQ Store. Chris also picked up her birthday present from BBQ Bonanza – a pellet grill!

We stopped for the night in Sioux City, IA and maneuvered into the small hotel parking lot. In the lobby, we were stopped by a couple of gentlemen who noticed our BBQ shirts (I’m not sure if we even own any non-BBQ shirts). They asked if we were driving the tour trailer and then pulled a BBQ book out of their bag. I knew we were dealing with some die-hard BBQ fans. It turns out that they are in the hog business and had just entered their first BBQ contest. I pulled out our laptop and we looked at box turn-in pictures and talked competitive BBQ for the next couple of hours.

Pulling into Mitchell, we followed the signs leading the way to the Corn Palace. Coming down the street, we could see the colored spires and flags. When we pulled onto Main Street, where the festival is held, it was really interesting to see the murals made out of the local harvest. This year’s theme was America’s Destinations with murals of the Corn Palace, Mt. Rushmore, the Gateway Arch and many others.

Our spot at the festival was right in front of the Freedom Stage, which showcased the local talent of the area. Our demonstration times were in between the accordion club, folk singers and Phil Baker singing to all the kids. On Wednesday night, Blake Shelton was the big act at the Corn Palace Festival. He even brought his girlfriend, Miranda Lambert, along to sing a couple of songs.

The Chubby Churro folks were right next to us. They taught us the difference between regular frozen churros and ones that are made fresh daily like the Chubby Churro. We were also lucky to run into Jon and family with Willingham’s World Championship BBQ. They were just around the corner from us at the festival.

We had a great crowd when we conducted the Grill Master competition between a couple of locals. It was nice to see people cheering on the cooks and getting involved.

Because our next stop was the Best in the West Rib Cook-Off in Sparks, NV, we pulled out on Saturday night between acts to get a jump on the 25-hour trip. Sparks is such a big event; it will probably take two recaps to cover it all.

To you and yours in BBQ,
Mike (& Chris) Peters

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