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FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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The Night Before St Louis

May 22, 2008
The Great American BBQ Tour trailer traveled to St Louis today, ready to start the long Memorial Day weekend visiting the home of the Arch. A typical visit to any of our destinations begins with buying meats and other sample and demonstration foods on Thursday morning followed by a visit to a local Wal-Mart superstore for an afternoon sampling of Tabasco Chipotle and Weber spiced food samples prepared on a Royal Oak grill, and served on Chinet plates. Following the Wal-Mart sample period, the trailer is repacked and driven to the festival site to move in and park for the weekend.

This weekend, the festival is the Rib America music festival held in Military Park in downtown St Louis about eight blocks from the St Louis Arch. We will do grilling demonstrations on Friday evening and again on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons. The demonstrations take about 30 minutes, and prepare foods with sponsor products, but equally importantly talk about the difference between low and slow barbeque, hot and fast grilling, the role of the Kansas City BBQ Society in competitive BBQ, how to become a KCBS member, how people can become judges for BBQ contests and other general information about KCBS and competitive barbeque. Each demonstration will be followed by one hour of handing out food taste samples, coupons, recipes, and a membership applications for KCBS. Samples of spices, Chipotle sauce, and recipes are available to people all day in our give away baskets.

While driving today, we went right past the site of the Mt Vernon, IL, barbeque contest known as the King City Showdown which will occur in three weeks. We recognized the site from the Interstate because we have been there as judges the past four years and it is one of our favorite contests. Unfortunately, I-57 which goes by Mt Vernon, joins our list of really rough interstate highways. Right up there with I-40 in Oklahoma and Arkansas. We really do look in the trailer on some of our fuel and overnight stops to check to make sure the cabinets on still on the walls of the trailer. So far they all are. It is a tribute to the people who put the trailer together.

The biggest event for us this weekend is working with training Mike and Chris Peters to assume the leadership and ambassador role on the Great American Tour. We have done six events in just over two months and driven the truck and trailer over 14,000 miles. We have met lots of great people and teams, but we have also worked ourselves harder than retirees are supposed to work. Our goal is that Mike and Chris will take over and just improve the tour.

If you are reading this and not part of a BBQ cooking team, think for a minute what you would name your team if you went on the competition circuit. There are lots of fascinating names at every contest we visit. We are trying to figure out if our team name would be Two Retired Butts or Two Old Butts. You get the idea.

Anyway, more after we finish the visit here in St Louis.

Linda and Ernie
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