BBQ Wythe Us Double – Wytheville, VA
By Ron Calloway – Pitmaster of Zoni-Q
Event organizer Erin Bowman had no idea her first BBQ event would be earth shattering. In fact, the first earthquake in over 100 years in the area, centered near Sparta, NC and a mere 50 miles from Wytheville would not faze Ms. Bowman. Forty-five teams would gather in Wytheville, Virginia for the First Annual BBQ Wythe US Double competition. The event was held at the Apex Center near Wytheville and provided a scenic mountainside view of sunsets and sunrises for the teams gathered. To say that Erin and her team ran a great competition is an understatement, especially for a first-time event. Ms. Bowman was especially grateful for the help and assistance she received from KCBS’s Alan Rothrock and the KCBS judges as well as Ham Squad Pitmaster David Dick. “I was very fortunate to have Dave’s help with getting the event off the ground and his experience running Zom-B-Q at this venue was a huge help,” said Ms. Bowman.
Everyone knows how the BBQ competition schedule has changed almost daily this past year due to the COVID-19 virus. Everyone adhered to the new KCBS standard for participating in a barbeque competition by wearing masks, gloves and practicing social distancing. Suffice to say this will be the manner in which we participate in KCBS competitions for the foreseeable future. The mere fact that this may be the last competition in the Mid-Atlantic region this year brought teams from the entire Mid-Atlantic region. It seems the average distance for most teams was three hours, while first-time competitor Stanley Bryant from The People’s BBQ drove twelve hours from Downingtown, Pennsylvania to compete!
Stanley’s People’s BBQ wasn’t the only first-time competitor in the Backyard group as eleven-year-old Kenzie Fink from Rockwell, North Carolina would also cook in her first event as head pitmaster. In fact, Kenzie would take all of us Backyard competitors to the wood shed on day 1 of the event as she was named Grand Champion. How’s that for the first-time pit master? Kenzie was very appreciative of all the support she’s received, especially from Tiffany Patrick (#thisgirlknowsmeat) and Michael Fay (Aporkalypse Now BBQ). Tiffany sent Kenzie a BBQ Comp care package and Mike gave Kenzie a nice Aporkalypse Now BBQ T-shirt and some other supplies.
Day 1 had 16 Backyard teams and this was a stacked field. In addition to Steve Dotson (D’Qued Barbeque); Chris Lemon (Lem’s Meat Varnish), and Travis Murphy (Gold-N-Blue Barbecue) we had two solid teams from Delaware – Andrew Pearce (Manhattan Jack’s BBQ) and Aaron Cary (MRC Barbecue) travel the seven hours to compete. David Dick from Ham Squad nailed a perfect score in chicken on day 1– congratulations Piggy Smalls!
For the pros, day 1 also saw a perfect score for chicken going out to Smack that Butt BBQ – nice work guys! Donald Cook from Who Cares BBQ brought home the day 1 GC, highlighted by his first ever 700 total score! “We’ve been less than a half point away from 700 several times so it’s nice to check this one off the list,” commented Donald. Muttley Crew BBQ pulled down the RGC for day 1 with a very respectable score of 692.
Day 2 started off with the 5.2 magnitude earthquake which many folks felt at the Apex Center. Fortunately, no one was injured and the only casualty was yours truly spilling a beer. It would not be the only beer spilled at the Zoni-Q site that day. There were 17 teams that competed in Sunday’s Pro Event and the rare back-to-back GC Double was awarded to Who Cares BBQ. Talk about consistency, Donald and his team of Mom (Sue) and Dad (Don, Sr.) proved that it pays to follow your timelines and adjust as needed. Obviously the earthquake didn’t affect Who Cares BBQ! The RGC for Pros on day 2 was Bald Hawg BBQ who edged out third place finisher Bad Azz Mule BBQ and fourth place finisher Chris Schriver of Brother-Uncle Barbeque.
On the Backyard side, we had 15 teams compete on day 2 and congrats go out to Grand Champion Jamie Trader from Sweet & Savory BBQ. His total score of 346 was closely followed by Travis Murphy from Gold-N-Blue Barbecue. Travis’s team rebounded nicely from day 1 where they finished in seventh place. Dennis Bowman from Bowman’s Butt & BBQ also battled back from day 1 anchored by his win in ribs with four perfect scores and 177 points. The BBQ Princess, Kenzie Lou finished in sixth place overall on day 2 but was able to snag first place chicken with a score of 176 and the two-day overall GC.
Event organizer Erin Bowman said she’d like to come back to Wytheville for a similar event in 2021 and based on the comments and feedback from the competitors, the Second Annual BBQ Wythe US would be a rousing success. We’ll just all hope the earthquakes stay away.