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BBQ Tour Stop #22 - The American Royal

October 14, 2009
Since we live in Southern Missouri, the drive to Kansas City for the Largest BBQ Contest in the world – The American Royal – was short and sweet. Before we loaded in, we stopped by Backyard Bash for a private party showcasing for the Good-One Smoker/Grill. We ran into Mike and Jerry of the Flying Judges and reminisced about the BBQ season so far. We also got some tips on what the CBJ’s are looking for to help guide our upcoming competitive cooking events.

On Thursday morning, quite a few of the local teams and some of the full-time cooks had dropped their rigs on the Kemper Arena grounds. After meeting with the organizer, we found out that we had the whole sponsor row to ourselves. We contemplated setting up closer to the food court area, with its hotbed of people, or setting up farther away from the entertainment for a quieter location to hold our demonstrations. We rolled the dice and decided to work around the entertainment schedule.

Chris and I had time to walk around the grounds greeting teams that we have run into along the trail. While meeting some new friends, like Bob from Australia, we even found some our loyal Facebook friends. It was good to see the Montgomery family of Team Top Chick and a Dawn from the KCBS office.

Friday and Saturday’s demonstrations were well attended. We even had a special guest chef at our Grill Master competition on Saturday afternoon. Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe surprised everyone, especially his cooking opponent Matt, when he walked around the side of the trailer to the Grill Master stage. Since Ray was on Chris’s team, I tried to throw his concentration by asking him questions but he was not swayed. I knew I might be in trouble when he pulled a wrench out of his pocket to flatten the chicken breast and started waylaying!!

We had family in to help with the demonstrations and passing out sample bags. Chris’s parents had never seen the life we lead nor the family and friends that we have made on the BBQ trail. Her mother was so impressed that she filled out a membership application to join KCBS on the spot.

We normally try to catch the awards ceremony but we were busy packing things away this year. I still remember watching Donnie with Buffalo’s BBQ and Joey with Joey Mac’s Smoke Stax emotions last year, as it came down to who was Reserve and who was Grand Champion. I am really sorry that I missed Todd, with Pork Pullin Plowboys, and the Caveman Cuisine team agonize over the final standings. Someone told me that Todd’s legs were shaking badly when the reality of his Grand Champion win set in.

Sunday morning we drove to the event and loved to see the low hanging smoke that surrounded Kemper arena. Chris had a chance on Sunday to cook with our friends Clark Kent Super Smokers and did really well with the chicken category, helping them finish 38th overall! Not too shabby for their third year cooking! After brisket turn-in, we even had a chance to run out to the NASCAR race compliments of a friend we met in Naperville who promotes Dodge trucks.

With close to 500 teams in attendance, we really wish we could note every team we met. With only three more events left in the 2009 Great American BBQ Tour, it seems like just a week ago was the beginning event in Little Rock. Before we know it, Lynchburg will be just a memory too.

Mike (& Chris) Peters
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