We're Backkkk.....

Back in 2009, we launched this blog to chronicle our initial journey the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue Competition - aka "The Jack.". Billed as the "World Championship of Barbecue", this epicurean "Superbowl" is held in the sleepy little hollow of Lynchburg, TN (pop.361) the 4th Saturday in October each year. It just so happens that Lynchburg is also home to the world renowned Jack Daniels distillery - the primary sponsor and namesake behind this culinary extravaganza.

Each year, tens of thousands of competition BBQ teams from across the United States (and around the world) spend countless hours and weekends competing in sanctioned BBQ events. These teams vie not only for Grand Championships & serious prize money (sometimes as much as $100K) - but perhaps even more importantly, they are all hoping by the end of the "BBQ season" to grab one of the 60 highly coveted spots to cook against an elite group of teams for the title of "world's best" (the "Jack" is by invitation only).

We competed in the 2009 Jack, and finished in the "middle of the pack" - an accomplishment we were certainly proud of. And after more or less taking the year off in 2010, "Hoochie-Que" is ramping up to make another run at a coveted invitation to the Jack in 2011.

So, after over a year of "neglect", we are "dusting off" this little ol' blog to once again share with family, friends, and other BBQ cooks/fans our experiences as we start our journey hopefully towards another invitation to the "Jack" in October 2011.

Also - and especially if you are new to this blog - make certain to read back through the "Blog Archive" to re-visit our experiences and trip to the Jack back in 2009! Some pretty good writing, memories & photos if I do say so myself!

Thanks - and we hope to see you in Lynchburg on October!

March 26, 2011

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Jack - Part Three - The "Big Show"

The Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue is held in Wiseman Park just behind the courthouse and town square in Lynchburg. It is a beautiful park with a nice open dining area where they hosted the check-in and cooks meeting, a large open pavilion where the judging and awards were held, a set of tennis courts where "bung toss" and "butt bowling" events for the public were held, two ball parks where they hosted a "country dog contest" and an amateur "backyard BBQ contest", and a small horse racing track where many of the Invitational and International teams had their sites. There was also another area of the park where various public vendors were positioned, along with some of the other invitational teams with the larger trailers and RV's.

We arrived with our "toy hauler" on Wednesday morning, and at the time there were maybe only 4-5 other teams that had arrived. We were located next to the "horse track", and just adjacent to the "International Village" which was on the field inside the race track.

After getting "settled in" on Wednesday, I returned to Nashville late that afternoon to pick up the rest of the family that had flown in. After a busy "touristy" day in Nashville (tour of the Grand Ol' Opry and visit to the Country Music Museum), we returned to the competition site late Thursday afternoon to find the park nearly full with competition teams and vendors, all abuzz with energy and excitement. It hit me at that moment that we indeed were finally at "The Big Show". The atmosphere was quite "lively", as several teams hosted "pot luck dinners" for their neighbors. We enjoyed a great fried catfish / fried okra / banana pudding meal hosted by some of our neighbors across from us (BadAzz Barbecue) who were there from Canada. There were plenty of "libations" and laughter to be found everywhere that night!!

The actual competition and other ancillary events began on Friday. We arrived from our hotel in Manchester (about 45 minutes away) at around 9 AM and finished setting up our canopies and site. It had been raining since earlier that morning - so things were a little muddy and damp to say the least. Thank goodness, however, we were in an area that drained pretty well compared to the sites of some of the other teams. The "BBQ Gods" smiled on us, though, and the rain and clouds departed around 1 PM. We ended up enjoying cool and clear weather the remainder of the day.

We devoured a most fabulous lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's (we sat "family style" with the "4 Legs Up" team from Kansas - last year's Jack Grand Champions - and had a great time), and then officially "checked in" at the Dining pavilion at Wiswman Park. We then went back to finish our set-up, and then attended the mandatory "cooks meeting" at 2 PM.

At around 4 PM, many of the teams donned their "festive attire", grabbed their team banners and flags, and began lining up for the traditional parade through the town square and to the Jack Daniel's visitor center a few blocks away. The local high school band led the parade, and all the teams tossed strings of multi-colored beads to the crowds as we paraded in front of them a la Mardis Gras style. It was quite the hoot!!

At the Jack Daniel's Visitors Center, there were buses awaiting the teams to take them up to a dinner hosted by Jack Daniel's at "BBQ Hill"... Food, an open bar, and a live band awaited the teams at a beautiful open facility that overlooks the Lynchburg "hollow". Unfortunately, children under 21 were not allowed to make the trek up to "BBQ Hill", so after the parade I took our kids to go get something to eat while Venssa went up with the others to get some photos. While I would have liked to have made the trip up, I was actually glad I didn't get to go, as it gave me some much needed time to start prepping some of my meats. I would find that several teams had left members behind for that very reason!

By around 7 PM Friday night, you began to see various teams returning and soon heard/smelled their smokers "firing up!" While there was still some jovial conversation to be heard, there was a very different "feel" to things on Friday night. The curtains were finally going up - the "actors" were taking their places on stage - and the show was about to begin. I don't remember being nervous - but I do remember feeling a little "edgy" and "ready" to be finally donning my apron, grabbing a hunk of meat, and "getting this on"!

(Make certain to not only view our slide show, but watch the You Tube video of the parade - we are in there!!)

No comments: