BBQ Tour Stop #16 - Mountain High BBQ & Music FestivalAugust 14, 2009 This was the first year for the Mountain High BBQ & Music Festival but you couldn’t tell it from the 49 teams or the event organizers. This was our second time traveling the curvy Smoky Mountain roads. Tryon was the first time and it really felt like coming home.
Before we headed to North Carolina, we loaded up the trailer in Cookeville. I must have overdone it a bit because I twisted wrong during Thursday’s load in and mucked up my back. When we made it to event set-up, the organizers had three or four helpers for the tour and the phone number of the closest chiropractor.
The organizers had the schedule set with great bluegrass singers and groups. Our demonstration schedule was worked in between music so the crowd basically just turned their chairs to watch our show. The event was held at the Macon County Fairgrounds, which had a large overhang for the crowd. They even set up two large shade coverings so people could stay out of the very warm weather.
With the large number of teams, the event went all out. They had water and electric permanently installed in the cooking field for future BBQ events and fairground festivities for years to come. The cookers came out in large numbers and the competition was stiff. We saw Big Mo & The Aho BBQN Outaws, with his custom FEC leveling system. We also saw the Tarheel Smokers, Smoky Mountain Smokers, Bub-Ba-Q and their little BBQ Diva, Swamp Boys and their new trailer, Wild Bunch Butt Burners, Primo Oval Rulers, Pigs in Heat and Team Bobby-Q. Team Bobby-Q won Reserve Grand and Tuffy with Cool Smoke won the custom made Grand Champion award. Speaking of awards, Franklin and Macon County is known as the Gem Capital of the World. The organizers commissioned a local artist to hand design the Reserve, Grand and Category awards using local gems and stones in the trophies.
We usually use an online service to find helpers to pass out products to visitors. Since Franklin was a bit off the beaten path, we searched out some local talent. When we were in Tryon, we met Shannon and Bubba of Bub-Ba-Q along with their kids. We were so impressed by their son Austin that we asked for his help this weekend and were not disappointed. We also had Chris, a friend of the event organizer, help with samples and loading the trailer afterwards. Our Grill Master competitor Miriam, along with her CBJ husband Bill, jumped in and helped tremendously too. Considering my Chris’ damaged finger and my strained back, it was one of the smoothest events yet. I give major credit to our fantastic helpers.
The next stop on the Great American BBQ Tour is almost 2,000 miles to the Northwest in Worland, Wyoming. After a stop at my chiropractor…
Mike (& Chris) Peters