Sportsmanship Ramblings and a Year in Review by Hot Grill on Grill Action
Well another contest season has passed and though it was successful, it did not fall in line with what we had envisioned.? In the world of competition BBQ being disappointed with a contest or an entire season is admirable; this is what drives a team or an individual to excellence.?
What never ceases to amaze us is the amount of teams out there who are so wrapped up in their desire to win that when they lose are so disappointed they lose sight of why they are there to begin with.? Worse yet, there are folks out there that get unruly when they don?t do well; they blame the judges, the contest representatives, the town, or any other thing they can think of.? We think this is as pointless as a BBQ judge that?s in it for the ?free meal?. ??Years ago, I can remember sitting through the awards ceremony at one of our local contests listening to some jackwagon crying about the judging being ?rigged? and using profanity every time their team didn?t get called.? When we asked him to quit speaking like this in front of our children it started an argument and this fine example of a sportsman wanted to fight.? Thankfully, the situation was quickly de-fused and the ceremony re-convened.? Yes, this goof ball was so disruptive that the ceremony actually stopped.? Rumor has it he?s still off in mamby pamby land pouting about it.?
I feel we started off like most teams do.? I can remember how easy it was showing up with two Weber WSM?s, a Weber Kettle, an 8? x 8? Quickshade canopy and two coolers one for meat and one for beer.? We used to say; ?our drinking team isn?t any good at this competition BBQ thing?.? In all honesty, this could arguably be the best way to look at it if you are just starting out. ?Our goal was to cook and serve our friends great food, have a few refreshments, turn in some meat and see what happens.? ?If we win we win? was our mentality and we reminisce about those days frequently.? ?What transitioned us away from this was a single call in one category.? That one victory snatched our nonchalant outlook and turned us into competitors.? However, the one thing we held on to was the fact that however we finish, we are in it for the fun.?
?Without a doubt, competition BBQ judging is considered to be very subjective by many and Hot Grill on Grill Action had used this as an excuse a few times until we realized that certain teams in our region were always finishing in the top 5.? Is this a common trend amongst the other regions in the country?? Absolutely.? If you are one of those that thinks the contest is ?rigged? I highly recommend you become a certified judge and provide this service for at least 1 contest to see how things work in the judges area.? Pay close attention to the coordination of efforts that take place to create the ?double blind? judging that the KCBS and other sanctioning bodies provide.? More importantly, pay attention to what you are eating and learn from it.? Network and learn about your fellow judges and try to put yourself at a table with judges that have been doing it a while.? ?After taking the time to learn about judging and what the judges want to see in a turn in box, you need to accept the fact that there are teams out there that are consistently doing well at every contest.?
The number of contests some of these teams compete in will blow your mind.? For Example Munchin? Hogs at the Hilton, the 2011 Team of the Year, Competed in 29 contests in 2011 and received Grand Champion honors at 7 of them.? Win ratio not good enough for you?? Their worst finish on the remaining 28 contests was 18th place which must have been due to some sort of fluke.? If you took this 18th place finish out of the mix they finished in the top 9 in 28 contests in 2011!? 29 weekends dedicated to Competition BBQ.? Take a look at the teams on the KCBS site, 3 Eyz BBQ, Pig Skin BBQ, Lucky?s Q, Little Pig Town and Big T?Z Q Cru to name a few.? All of which are exemplary teams that dedicate countless hours and the majority of their weekends to the sport.? ?Rigged? some folks may say?These teams are proof that practice make perfect.
2012 Contest Results for Hot Grill on Grill Action
We competed in only 8 contests this year and received the following category honors:
Four 2nd place category finishes.
Two 4th place category finishes.
Two 6th place category finishes.
Two 9th place category finishes.
These finishes landed us:
28th out of 77 ? ?Winter Q? ? Great Bend, KS
23rd out of 36 ? ?BBQ in the Bluffs? ? Council Bluffs, IA
23rd out of 48 ? alley Jun14th place out of 47 teams – ?Keepers of the Fire? – Mayetta, KS.
9th place out of 30 teams – ?Red White & Q? – Bellevue, NE (State Championship)
14th place out of 40 teams – ?The Original NE State Championship?? – LaPlatte, NE
10th place out of 36 teams – ?Ribs, Rods, Rock & Roll? – Vermillion, SD (State Championship)
102nd out of 525 teams ? ?the American Royal Open? ? Kansas City, KS
One of our biggest highlights of the year was earning a 9th place finish and 2nd place finish out of 525 teams at the American Royal Open.? The second place finish was actually a three way tie for 1st that when broken moved us into second place.? The most exciting part of this ordeal wasn?t walking up to the stage to get the award, it wasn?t the high fives from teams as you passed them on the way up, it wasn?t the words of enthusiasm or the cheering.? As fantastic and unforgettable as all these things are, it was the excitement amongst our team and being able to report back to our wives and children that we are true competitors in this crazy world of BBQ.? On top of all of this, we got to sit there, amongst our peers, and find out if we won Grand Champion because we truly had a chance to take the whole event.? Picture it; Imagine the excitement of sitting through the Pork, Brisket and Overall Standing announcements; our peers rooting us on, murmurs of folks whispering ?these guys could win it?.? ?The champagne corks were about to fly and wouldn?t you know it, we were 34 points shy of winning Grand Champion.? So, we didn?t win, but you better believe we celebrated.? It took over a week for the constant feeling of joy to pass and it rushes right back every time I think about it.? To hear Hot Grill on Grill Action called twice in front of all those folks was amazing.
I started off by saying that the 2012 season didn?t meet our vision.? Let me explain.? 2011 was a special year for Hot Grill on Grill Action.? We had competed very strongly and had managed to pull off a State Championship win at Bellevue?s ?Red White & Q.?? This automatically placed us into the American Royal Invitational and entered us into the drawing for the state of Nebraska for ?The Jack?, which is the Jack Daniels World Invitational held in Lynchburg, TN.? Having come off or a year like this it is hard to settle for anything less.
In 2011, out of 9,924 teams, Hot Grill on Grill Action earned the following rankings:
237th in Chicken
366th in Ribs
376th in Pork
277th in Brisket
The Team of the Year standings for 2012 are not currently available on the KCBS site, but as soon as they are we will post an update as to where Hot Grill on Grill Action measured up.? I?m willing to bet we end up finishing better off than we did in 2011 even though we didn?t make it to any ?Big Shows?? If not, there?s always 2013.?
The Biggest Highlight for 2012?
The true highlight of 2012 was meeting the kind of folks willing to give up their time to coordinate and judge the contests.? The efforts of the team at ?Winter Q? for putting on the first Midwest contest of the year and coordinating inside locations to keep the teams warm.? ?BBQ in the Bluffs? in Council Bluffs, IA for continuing to grow the contest and bring more teams in each year.? Our friends at the Valley Junction, IA contest for going out of their way and giving up Main St. to the contest each year.? The folks at ?The Keepers of the Fire? contest in Mayetta, KS and their excellent hospitality and accommodations.? The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and their continued efforts to put on the ?Red White & Q? contest after years of finding new locations due to flooding in the area, also to them for making it a fun event for the entire family.? The Greater Omaha BBQ Society who puts on our favorite local contest in LaPlatte each year and to their continual efforts to support Omaha BBQ.? The town of Vermillion, SD and Ribs Rods & Rock?n Roll for their persistence in getting teams to their contest every year and providing one heck of a good time.? The American Royal staff for putting on the largest most organized contest you could imagine.? These folks are the reason we can do what we love.? They are true ambassadors of the sport.? Last but not least, the competitors.? We sure know how to have fun don?t we!
Where there?s a pro there?s usually con, but I can?t seem to think of any.?
If you see us at a contest, come by and introduce yourself, we?d love to meet you.? Most importantly: Don?t forget why you started.
The Kansas City BBQ Society has a very informative website full of information.? Take a look here: www.kcbs.us/index.php for the KCBS home page. ?For the overall Team of the Year rankings visit: www.kcbs.us/team-of-the-year.php.? To gain knowledge on how the points are calculated for the overall rankings visit: www.kcbs.us/rankings.php.? If you want to know what it?s going to take to go from ?back yard? to professional competition visit: www.bbqrevolution.com and check out ?The Book on Competition BBQ.?