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BBQ Tour Stop #2: Springfield, MO

April 21, 2011

Rock’n Ribs in Springfield, Missouri has always held a special place in our hearts, as this was the first BBQ contest we ever competed in. Like most years, events in Mid-April have a higher than normal chance of rain and cold weather and this year was especially bad with rain, cold and high winds hitting the event on both Friday and Saturday. The sun did come out right about Brisket turn-in time so the crowds arrived at just the right time for the 8,000 pounds of pork and brisket that the teams prepared for the public sampling.

Because this is our home event, Christine and I get to compete in addition to running the BBQ Tour. While at most contests, we pack up and stay in a hotel, I had an early Friday morning segment on KOLR-10, the local CBS station, so I stayed onsite Thursday night and watched the bad weather come across Oklahoma heading straight for us. I did get some sleep until a couple of transformers popped at 3:15. That will sure wake you up out of a sound sleep! I cooked ribs for the reporter and let him chow down during one of our spots.

Friday night at Rock’n Ribs is the VIP party night (for adults only). While the rain kept most of the crowds away, the die-hards made it out to listen to the bands and try some public samples. Saturday was turn-in day and we got in two very well attended demonstrations for the crowd. The nice thing about Saturday at Rock’n Ribs is the public sampling and people line up like ants going from booth to booth to get their free food samples. This year the event used text voting for people to vote instead of paper ballots like in the past. Team “Here Piggy Piggy BBQ,” which is sponsored by Davis Cellular, had their members in line teaching people how to text in their vote and had twice as many votes as the second place team. Pretty sure they had good BBQ also since they were voted People’s Choice Winners. As a matter of full disclosure, “Here Piggy Piggy BBQ” is Christine and my cooking team - so I can vouch for the good BBQ.

This was the 12th year for Rock’n Ribs and after all the money is tallied, they should be able to top the $1,000,000 mark for donations to Children’s Charities of the Ozarks since inception. It takes close to 900 volunteers and is directed by the local Rotary clubs to pull off this massive event that fills up Bass Pro Shop’s parking lot. This year was also special since there was an International team competing from Puerto Rico – BBQ Freaks! They even brought rum along to help teach the locals about their home spirits and even conducted some rum tasting. They weren’t quite used to the cold weather, but I am told that rum warms the innards…

At awards time, the sun was shining on all the teams who got calls, especially Quau with their first place Chicken, 3 Brothers with Different Mothers with Ribs (they said Dad sure got around), Belly Brothers, last year’s GC with first place Pork and Dead Pigs Tell No Tales edging out family Quau for first place Brisket. Belly Brothers ended up with a second place Reserve Champion trophy while Quau won their second Grand Championship in a row (won Columbus, MS the week prior) along with another big Kingsford check. Mike even ran up to Jefferson City on Thursday to compete in the Butt to Butt Championship. Christine and I took home a 5th place Brisket trophy and will hang up our cooking aprons for another year before we hope to defend our People’s Choice award!

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