2012 Tour Stop #20 - The Sam's Club National BBQ Tour ChampionshipOctober 13, 2012
Sam's Club National BBQ Tour Championship
You always expect bigger and better things at a second year contest, and boy, did they deliver at the Sam’s Club® National Championship! More teams, more contests and more importantly, more money to award!
The Sam’s Club® National BBQ Tour Championship was held in Bentonville, Arkansas at the Sam’s Club® Headquarters. Christine and I did a retail stop at the local Sam’s Club® before loading to the event site where we had lots of people stop by for samples. We encouraged everyone to stop by on Saturday for more samples from many of the Sam’s Club® partners.
Friday afternoon was reserved for Sam’s Club® employees, and try as it could, the rain couldn’t spoil the day as we had loads of employees come out under umbrellas and ponchos to sample our products. That’s dedication!
The VIP party was held Friday night and served to celebrate the teams, judges, sponsors and organizers that came together to help make the event such a success. Country music star Hope Wilson even sang after the buffet dinner!
Saturday gave Mother Nature a chance to flex her muscles with strong gusts of wind throughout the day. The teams without trailers had to put up a good fight and I heard of one or two turn-in boxes that got blown around pretty good.
Because bad weather was on the radar heading towards Bentonville, the organizers made the decision to move the awards ceremony inside to the Sam’s Club® auditorium which proved to be a great venue complete with state of the art audio and video.
Since the finals use Master Judges only, you’d expect either very harsh standards and low scores or, as the scores reflected, that only the best teams won their way to Bentonville. All of the scores were at the upper end of the spectrum including two perfect scores and one perfect-perfect!
Truebud BBQ scored a perfect 180 in Chicken, Grills Gone Wild, Iowa nailed a perfect score in Ribs but came up a spot behind Big T'z Q Cru who scored a perfect-perfect showing that Brisket is not their only strong suit. Sizzlin’ Bones BBQ won Pork with a 179.4286 and There's No Place Like Smoke scored a 179.4286 to win the Brisket.
With four of the top five teams hailing from Iowa and the lowest score being a 697, I don't think there is any argument concerning powerhouse BBQ areas… Big T'z Q Cru placed 5th, Iowa's Smokey D's BBQ, who won Grand Champion at their local and regional contest placed 4th overall. QUAU had only one top ten call but was consistent enough to place 3rd overall. With two calls including that 180, Grills Gone Wild Iowa took home the Reserve Grand honors along with a nice $25,000 check and the last call of the day - with a 6th, 17th, 7th and 2nd place call and total score of 704.5716 - went to Lucky's Q along with the title Sam’s Club® National Champion and a fat $50,000 check!
This series is only going to get bigger and better. Keep a look out to get your part of the action next year!