Great American BBQ Tour Stop #8 – BBQ, Blues & Cruise Taylorville, ILJune 3, 2009 Chris and I headed out to Taylorville, IL for the BBQ, Blues and Cruise event this past weekend. Since the event was a Saturday only event, we left home on Friday for the short six hour drive. Growing up in Kansas, it was nice to pass through the wheat fields and farming communities.
Since we normally stay at Choice Hotels because of their KCBS member discount, we were disappointed at the 30 minute drive to the closest Choice hotel. Luckily we visited with one of the organizers who directed us to the Market Street Inn, a lovely bed and breakfast right in Taylorville. Joe and Myrna were wonderful hosts and made our first time at a Bed & Breakfast something to remember.
Taylorville had been experiencing the same thing as most of our events – rain. So when we pulled onto the fairgrounds, we had to navigate around the puddles and damp ground. We set up across from the main stage and right by Florida Skin & Bones, who were competing and vending at the event. Lucky, their bird, was greeting people as they walked by. Chris remembered Lucky from last year at the American Royal. He had chased her into the trailer wanting to get petted.
On Friday evening, we visited with teams and met Smokey Joel and Vince with team Cubby Bear. Vince got out his bucket o’ fun and mixed up a mean Mai Tai. It was just what I needed before doing a live TV remote for the local television station. Our Innkeeper mentioned that she saw me on TV with a big smile on my face! We also met the Rolling Smoke team, who is organizing a big BBQ event and filled us in on some of the details. I hope that everything comes together and I am looking forward to it.
We had two demonstrations and one Grill Master competition scheduled on Saturday, which would have worked out perfectly except rain moved in Saturday morning. Since our 11:15 demo was rained out, we decided to skip the Grill Master competition and replace it with the first demonstration. The skies cleared and the people came out to the event in droves. They came out on bikes for the bike show and classic cars for the car rally. There were craft booths both inside and out and lines of people for the people’s choice contest in the backyard BBQ competition.
The local newspaper did a fantastic job promoting the event. People showed up early for our scheduled demonstrations and the Blues bands that played throughout the evening.
One of the teams that we run into quite a bit, Lotta Bull BBQ with Mike and Debbie Davis, had to leave early and asked if we would collect any awards that they might win. I was pleased to accept the Grand Champion award on their behalf. It was wonderful practice for our first Grand Champion win sometime in the future.
All in all, Taylorville was a very successful event. We had one of our best public interactions and passed out a phenomenal amount of samples and products to the attendees. The next stop is Pueblo, CO for the Boats, Blues and BBQ event on the Riverwalk.
Mike (& Chris) Peters
P.S. We will also be fiddling with Twitter – KCBSBBQTour. Follow us and watch for the tweets.