New Holland Summer Fest New Holland, PA
by Bill Wintermyer, Pitmaster of Smokin’ Foolz BBQ
A tale of two weather types have dominated the 2016 BBQ season here in the Mid-Atlantic region so far. April, May, and June, competitors might have thought they were living and competing in the north-west, perhaps Seattle, WA area where rain is more common than sunshine. Then comes along July and August bringing with them sun and record high temperatures. Mother-nature pushing teams to their limits, but through it all; at every contest; every single team; pushing through, all for the love of barbeque. Showing that the BBQ community isn’t just the friendliest family hands down but also tuff as nails being able to handle whatever weather conditions occur competition weekend. With that said, a very well deserved special shout-out to an amazing organization, OBR and all the volunteers that spent countless hours in White Sulphur Springs, WV and Hammond, LA serving hot meals to victims and emergency responders in those affected areas from natural disasters this season. Kudos!!!!
Now back to summer fest, if you never competed here or not sure where New Holland is, it is deep in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Amish country. Driving in one can get stuck behind a tractor moving from field to field or Amish horse and buggy. Life here moves at a slower pace than Philadelphia or New York and that is why many teams return year after year. The event is spread throughout the community park with teams and vendors mixed within each other creating a real festival. Teams are provided both water and electric with various site sizes which accommodate their needs.
66 teams, hot temperatures, and the Pennsylvania State Championship on the line made for an interesting weekend. Mark Gibbs of Checkered Flag 500 had the points lead and was looking to end Lo’ -N- Slo’ BBQ 5 year run as PA Champions. Every team I spoke with after turn-ins said they had normal to good cooks. A social media post by Hawg Nation BBQ stating they missed brisket turn-in window quickly spread by mouth to teams unaware what happened. Lots of sadness and condolences were offered, as all teams want the best for all competitors, after all we’re bbq family!
Awards time and some tension was in the air, could Lo’ -N- Slo’ pull off a come from behind win or would Checkered Flag 500 BBQ unseat the 5 time champions? The green flag waived, however there was no Checkered Flag 500 BBQ as they were competing at Charleston, SC Sam’s Club Regional this same weekend.
Chicken: ¼ of the race and Lo’ -N- Slo’ took 11th; congratulations to Willy’s Q Shack on their very first 1st place category call.
Ribs: ½ way; Lo’ -N- Slo’ was called for 5th; congratulations to Camp Bacon BBQ on 1st place.
Pork: ¾ mark; Lo’ -N- Slo’ grabbed 2nd; congratulations Slower Lower BBQ on 1st place.
Brisket: Finish; Lo’ -N- Slo’ was called for 5th; congratulations to Pigheaded BBQ on 1st place by lapping the field with a 180 score, well done to the entire team!
Was it enough for a 6th straight or would someone accept the State Championship Cup for Checkered Flag 500 BBQ by proxy? The teams in attendance didn’t have to wait too much longer as they announced the state champion; Lo’ -N- Slo’, congratulations on your 6th consecutive title.
All was not lost, CF500BBQ might have lost this battle, but a 5th place overall finish at the Sam’s Club Regional punches a ticket to Bentonville, AR and Sam’s Club Final with a shot at $50,000 GC and $25,000 RGC prize money. Oh, and by the way, 7 GC’s giving CF500BBQ an auto to the grand daddy of ‘em all, 2016 Jack Daniel’s Invitational. Que luck team!!!!