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TippyCanoe Takes Home National Championship

October 19, 2011

What do you get when you put the top barbecue teams in the entire country all together competing in the largest and richest competition series in barbecue history? Silence.

At least that’s what Joe Beland, skipper for the newly crowned Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour National Champion TippyCanoe BBQ Crew team, observed when he looked out across the field of competitors.

 “It was probably the quietest contest I’ve ever seen,” describes Beland. “Everyone, including me, was just focused on our cooks. You could smell the intensity. I guess that’s what you get when the stakes are this high!”

 A journey that started for some teams all the way back in April, drew to a close on Saturday, October 15. The 50 qualifiers for the Inaugural Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour National Championship event, held in Bentonville, AR, had to win their way through a local and regional events to even qualify for the Championship. That tournament-style formula created a 50-team field of the best BBQers on the face of the planet.

 “I just glanced around the parking lot,” described Beland. “When I looked at the caliber of teams, I just thought to myself, ‘Wow!’”

 Beland, coming off of a win at the American Royal two weeks previous, believes there’s a difference in the wins.

 “Its definitely different,” describes Beland.  “In the Royal it takes some luck. I’m extremely proud of the win, don’t get me wrong. But to win at the Royal, with so many teams, you have to have a good cook and get some luck.”

 “When I looked at the field for the National Championship, I knew it was going to take a better cook and its going to have to get past master judges,” said Beland. “Basically, I had to cook like a rockstar.”

 At the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour National Championship the TippyCanoe BBQ Crew team consisted of Joe Beland and his wife Kim.

 “With just Kim and I,” describes Beland, “it makes it easier to concentrate. On Saturday, as far as the cook goes, we just hit our timing. We did a little adjustment to our ribs and it paid off. It’s a rare thing when all the parts fall into place, but I could just feel that they were.”

 All the parts didn’t easily fall into place though for Team Tippy.

 “We had a tough time finding ribs,” states Joe. “I actually bought our ribs at a Sam’s Club on the way down! I called ahead and they held one for me. They were spot on.”

TippyCanoe finished with a 701.14 score overall narrowly beating the Reserve Champion team Grog N Hogs by just over 1 point. The Canoe Crew finished 2nd in pork, 5th in brisket, 6th in ribs and 35th in the chicken category at the event.

 Starting out at the local event in Woodbury, MN and then moving on to the Indianapolis Regional final, Team Tippy didn’t shy away from the heightened competition but instead welcomed it.

 “I love the tournament concept,” said Beland. “It was fun all the way around. And the tournament is just going to get better and bigger!”

 Beating out nearly 650 other teams from across the country, TippyCanoe BBBQ Crew earned $35,000 and now holds the distinct notoriety of being the first ever Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour National Champion.

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