Joe and Carlene were so nice to me. They told me about how they had ran a community news paper for many years, retired, got into competition BBQ, realized the need for a BBQ news paper and started the National BBQ News. Joe told me this great story about how they had bought an expensive off-set smoker, had a nice motor home, were set up at this contest, feeling smug and confident when this poor little guy showed up in a rusted out Pinto station wagon, drug out three Weber's and proceeded to kick their ass. This story would resonate with me in our future endeavors. They told me about an MIM competition in Demopolis coming up in December that I should go to. They also told me I should become a BBQ judge as a good way to get involved. Great advise to anyone wanting to get started.
Also at the Jack that year I met Robert Worsley and Bad Byron Chism of the world famous ButtRub Team. We bought some rub and stuff they were selling. Robert was very nice and Byron probably said something like "go away kid , you bother me". Seriously, both of those guys have gone on to become great friends.
Now I had been a backyard terror for many years, wearing out several ECBs, but I knew I had stepped into another dimension and couldn't wait for the next step.