Tag Archive: #maba

  1. BBQ Wythe Us Double – Wytheville, VA

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    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.

    Beautiful setting at the APEX Center in Wytheville, VA. Photo courtesy of Lisa Dommes

    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.

    Sunrise on Day 2. Photo courtesy of Chris Schriver.

    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.

    Two-day Backyard Grand Champion, Kenzie Fink of KenzielouQ. Photo courtesy of KenzielouQ.

    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.

  2. York County BBQ Festival – Delta, PA

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    By Chiles Cridlin, MABA Board Member, Pit Master of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ

    In the sleepy little town of Delta, Pennsylvania, 53 master series teams and 21 backyard teams assembled for a KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest! For most, this was the first opportunity to cook for the calendar year. Ken Jensen and team have always gone to great lengths to make this an incredibly hospitable event for the cook teams and judges, and you can imagine all the extra work that went into this 2020 event given all the restrictions and precautions required from the COVID pandemic. I say CHEERS to Ken and team for doing what was necessary to host a safe and successful contest. 

    Friday’s load in was a little tight given all the teams and the layout, I personally witnessed some amazing parking skills by teams that arrived after noon on Friday and still managed to perfectly park their rigs without issue. Power was a little spotty in the beginning as they struggled to balance the load on the ample generators but by mid-afternoon on Friday, all was well. For those of you who do not understand what it takes to run temporary power for a contest, imagine planning a meal and you don’t know who is coming or how much they are going to eat. It takes some juggling but in the end, it seemed to all work out. Kudos to the power guy who stayed to address concerns. Public Port-O-Johns were few and far between so next year consider renting one as rentals were readily available (the gymnasium was closed at night). 

    The Kids Que had a handful of participants and I was all smiles to see that Colton Schriver from Brother-Uncle Barbecue walked for first place with his Philly Cheese Steak slider! (Where was my sample?) Congratulations to all the kids who entered, and to the parents who support them and encourage their kids to cook. 

    The SCA steak contest had more than 40 participants and David Paulini with Pullin My Money Muscle took home the golden ticket. What I would have given to taste that steak because mine was (I thought) really good but not near good enough. Congratulations to those that got calls. 

    On Saturday morning, Harco Loco BBQ had their sponsor show up and set up a nice presentation for the 9:22 Toast. After the socially distanced greetings, the comradery and the toast, the gloves were off, or shall I say stayed on because of new safety requirements… Either way, the competition was fierce! I would consider this an unusually high scoring contest for the North East, with the top 5 teams all in the 690’s and within 4 points of each other. Chicken turn ins were a little slow as all the extra precautions for judge seating and turn ins were still being ironed out but things seemed to pick up from there, and the judges seemed very satisfied with all the extra precautions for health safety. 

    For KCBS backyard, D’Qued Barbeque took first place and MRC Barbecue took second in chicken. There was a little more distance between them (4 points) but the top 4 teams for chicken all had scores in the 170’s. As for ribs, House of Hawg BBQ took first place with a 174 and Butchie’s Backyard BBQ took second with a 170. The overall Backyard GC was D’Qued Barbeque, and House of Hawg BBQ took Reserve Grand. You all pay attention to these names because I see future Master Series contenders coming from this crowd. 

    Everyone loves a Cinderella story! Did you know that just days prior to this contest our own MABA member Hank had hip replacement surgery? Talk about being tough, Hank must have gotten right out of the hospital and decided to cook a BBQ contest as part of his rehabilitation! That alone is noteworthy for the contest, but then imagine his surprise when it was announced that Weekend Smokers took the Grand Championship (their third ever according to BBQData.com) in a very stout crowd. Their 2nd place in ribs (178) and second place in brisket (179) along with two other better than mid-field finishes were enough to push them in front of the pack and way less than a point ahead of the Reserve!

    Our friends at Smokecraft – MD did an amazing job with their pork (176) and got a 9th place call in ribs. I am guessing they were a bit more than surprised to hear their name for Reserve Grand! This is what happens when you are consistent. With their chicken and brisket in the “teens” they kept their pace and almost won the contest. Keep up the good work fellas and keep your eyes on Syd with Good Googly Goo. If he starts cooking the rest of his categories like he did chicken (1st place) and ribs (third place) this past weekend, and we know he can, we are all in BIG trouble!