FACT: There's been an 18% increase in contest participation by members in the past year    
FACT: 64% of KCBS members own three or more grills/smokers    
FACT: 70% of our members grill-out/cook BBQ more than 25 times per year    
FACT: 56% of Americans report having a smartphone, 77% of KCBS members do    
FACT: 70% of KCBS members use Facebook    
FACT: 55% of members choose charcoal when cooking for leisure    
FACT: 23% of KCBS members work in the food service industry as a restauranteur or caterer    
FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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Summing Up Sevierville

May 19, 2008
Just got home from the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass festival in Sevierville, TN. A little cool with a north breeze on Friday night when the festival started, but they more than made up for it with a beautiful day on Saturday, and wonderful crowds. Our KCBS tour trailer was parked in a great location, and we gave out our sponsor samples at record rates. We gave two very well attended grilling demonstrations and were able to talk a lot about what was going on with the competition BBQ teams.

One of the Great American BBQ Tour goals has been to do interviews with BBQ teams so that the people attending the festival could get a little better idea of what goes on for a team at a BBQ contest. We accomplished that for the first time, of many we hope, at Sevierville. And we got some great teams to interview; Cool Smoke, Wild Bunch Butt Burners, and Lotta Bull. Thanks very much to Tuffy Stone, Mike Davis, and Kathy Swift for getting behind the microphone and letting Ernie ask some questions. As a bonus, he also interviewed, and met for the first time, Paul Kirk, who is known as the Baron of Barbeque, is a seven time world champion, a KCBS board member, and cookbook author.

There are many towns that give up their city centers for a weekend for great BBQ festivals, but none do it better than Sevierville, TN. When teams pulled in, water was available, and the electricians were there quickly to get them the electricity they needed. The mayor and town officials were around to welcome teams, and it is the kind of appreciation and service that will keep teams coming back to Sevierville every year. Of course much of the welcome and service would never happen without the hard work of the contest organizer. Steve Ownby and his wife Vicki put in lots of hours before the contest, and especially over the weekend, to make sure teams were greeted, parked and made welcome, and the judges were welcomed and appreciated.

One of the fun occurrences over the weekend was meeting one of the families that was in Sevierville to let their three children participate in the Kids-Q competition on Saturday morning. They all visited our trailer on Friday, and we talked about the families plan to start competing as a cook team starting with the Madison, Indiana, RibberFest contest in August. They had planned a vacation from their home in Indiana to Sevierville just to attend this contest and talk to other cooking teams. But, the fun part came when one of the kids showed up at the KCBS trailer, during the Kids-Q contest, with a dirty cutting board to ask if they could borrow our sink. Wanting to promote future BBQ champions, of course they could.

Many of the 50 plus competition teams also visited our trailer for tours which we encouraged them to do. We are proud of the KCBS trailer and the job we are able to do selling the merits of KCBS and competition BBQ.

We are home for two days, then off with the trailer to St Louis to attend their Rib America music festival over Memorial Day weekend. Their web site is http://www.ribamerica.com/stlouis.html if you want to check out the schedule and acts.

Linda and Ernie

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