2012 Tour Stop #13- Up in Smoke BBQ BashJuly 27, 2012
Up In Smoke BBQ Bash
Before we headed North to Mason City, we made a retail stop in Des Moines, Iowa at the local Sam’s Club® where people were excited to hear about the upcoming Sam’s Club® BBQ Tour that stopped a few days after us. On the way to Mason City, we had another low power issue with the truck and called the Up in Smoke organizer, Ruth, who found us a fantastic mechanic to diagnose the problem when we got to town. A tank full of bad fuel was the culprit, nothing some good fuel and some frazzled nerves couldn’t fix.
Christine and I kept hearing what a great event the Up in Smoke BBQ Bash is and what a good fit it would be for the Great American BBQ Tour…folks weren't kidding! Ruth and the entire event staff worked tirelessly throughout the entire weekend. Ruth and her nieces even baked brownies and maple bacon cupcakes for all of the teams!
The event was held in East Park which is a nice wooded park along a stream. We set up in one of the more open areas of the park, which placed us right inside the main gate. Everybody had to walk by us and most everyone stopped for the free samples we offered through the weekend.
Up in Smoke BBQ Bash is sponsored by the local newspaper so there were daily write-ups and free newspapers delivered to each team. On Friday evening, we had a reporter sitting in the front row of our demonstration (which was also one of the largest crowds of the year for us!). I swear the reporter had a tape recorder because in the next morning’s paper, I was quoted as saying, "It must be a slow night in Northern Iowa for all you folks to come to my demo"… I must have been in the moment because I sure don't remember saying that.
We always have friends cooking at the events we go to, but this event was a bit better as we had family cooking as well. My cousin Leeann and her husband Stewart are on team, FrankenQue, and this was actually their first ever competition. Christine and I stopped in Friday night to make sure they had a good grasp on expectations for the next day and other than a bit of tweaking with their parsley boxes, they had everything under control. At the end of the competition, team FrankenQue took home a third place win in the Anything But category and didn't finish dead last overall either. Not bad for a first time competing!
The Wicked Pig won the Chicken category; first time cooks Beach Bums BBQ won Ribs; TrueBud BBQ won Pork and A Boy & His BBQ won Brisket along with taking Reserve Grand Champion. Even though Iowa's Smokey D's only had one top 10 call, they ended on top as Grand Champion. Nothing like a one-two punch from the Iowa teams to take some hardware back to Des Moines and put up in their restaurant!
On Sunday, Christine and I packed up and headed towards Rockford, Ill. for our next Sam’s Club® retail stop. We grabbed lunch at a Hardee’s along the way and as we came out, we were stopped by a family with the cutest little girl who asked for our autographs and wanted to know if we knew any of the Pitmasters from TV. We told her that we did and then asked who her favorite was. Of course it was Big Moe! She giggled with excitement when Christine told her that Big Moe was a friend of ours and we even cooked a recent contest against him. You just never know when you will run into BBQ fans out on the road!