Monday, May 16, 2011

Our audition video for Pit Masters

Team Top Chick from Kyle Evans on Vimeo.

OK, here it is , our audition video for last years Pit Masters show. Good thing I didn't quit my day job....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lynn and Dot Bruce Part 2

One day Lynn and Dot were traveling down a straight stretch of interstate at near warp speed , headed to judge a BBQ contest. Running  parrellel to the interstate was a county road with some houses on it. One of these houses was having a big yard sale. The ever eagle eyed Bruce's spotted a large stuffed chicken in the yard sale goods and decided it would make a prefect mascot for Team Top Chick. They had to drive several miles farther to find an exit. Finally the big Lincoln was slowed and turned down the county road. (I suspect an illegal median crossing may have been involved). The stuffed chicken was purchased and promptly delivered to us at the contest. They were so excited, and the to hear them tell the story was hilarious. That chicken has made every trip with Team Top Chick since.

My fourth and most likely final trip to Charleston, was one I never wanted to make. In September 2006, Dot died unexpectedly with a heart attack. We attended her memorial and learned about an other side of Dot we didn't know from school mates and local friends. Even among the sadness there was humor. Lynn told us the story of he and Dot discussing a friend who's spouse had passed away and if they had started dating again. Lynn said "Dot if anything happened to me, how long do you think you would wait before you started dating?" and Dot said "Hell, I'd probably bring a date to your funeral".  That was classic Dot.

Lynn moved back to Dyersburg and the Charleston contest was no more.  Though he remained somewhat active in the BBQ community, we saw him less in the southeast. I strongly regret that I did not keep in better contact with him. Then in August 2010 we got the word that Lynn too had passed away with a heart attack.

If you knew them, then I'm sure you  have great memories also. If you didn't ,then you missed out on two very special people, that make our BBQ community the unique and wonderful place it is.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lynn and Dot Bruce

I've been to Charleston Mo. four times in my life. It's not a destination town or a place you pass through on the way to somewhere else.  Each trip was directly attributable to my friendship with Lynn and Dot Bruce. Dot was raised in small-town Charleston society, and was devoted to her Philanthropic causes . Lynn was a farm boy from east Tennessee and a former Airborne Ranger. Although it might appear to be an odd pairing, they sure seemed to make it work. When they decided to become KCBS BBQ judges , they didn't just slip quietly into the world of competition BBQ, they attacked it with passion! They traveled extensively to judge contests all over, and our paths  began to cross and great friendship began.

Soon Lynn and Dot were planning to have a KCBS contest in Charleston and everyone must come.That's right, they invited you again and a again, then they just told you that you were coming. It was very hard to say no to them. Their event would be a cookers and judges event. It wasn't about the community , the public, fundraising, music or arts and crafts. It was about having their friends come to their home and have a contest. It would be held at The Boom Town RV park, plenty of water and power, decent money, nice trophies, solid dependable Reps, great teams and  experienced judges ( most or which came from along way away) and outstanding hospitality. The contests were a reflection of the Bruce's personality, direct, to the point, no pretense no fluff, but a lot of fun. There would be three of them 2004, 05 and 06. I judged the first one, by 2005 we had started our team and cooked the second one, then Nancy, Trent and I judged the last one. The number of teams they had at each event was truly amazing, I believe it was 45 teams the first year, 50 something the second yeat and 68 the last year. Also, consider at least one event was on Easter weekend and that many of these teams came from 300 plus miles away. I don't have a lot of sympthy for organizers that complain that they can't get people to come to their event unless I think they worked as hard as Lynn and Dot did.

One of my most pleasant memories in BBQ will always be sitting on the back veranda of Lynn and Dot's beautiful victorian home on Sunday morning after the contest drinking coffe with Dot, Lynn and the Barron of BBQ, Paul Kirk. Good times....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Judging was a lot of fun.....

I achieved Master Judge status in two years back then there weren't near as many KCBS contests in the southeast. We were allowed to count MIM and FBA contests toward our 30. I took the training class for their contests so I could Judge them. I really enjoy the on site Judging at a Memphis style contest. I made a lot of great friends in both the Judges world as well as the cook teams. Mark Delashaw, Bill Boggs Randy and Carol Biggler , Mickey Williams, Vicky and Steve Owenby to name a few Judges, all became great friends.

The KCBS reps, Ron Harwell, the Braziers, Tony Stone, Stephen Smith, and others. All top noch at what they do, and good friends.

Back then, the only family member that traveled with me was  oldest daughter Anna. The whole BBQ community adopted her like family and helped look after her while I was judging. I guess she was paying attention.

Two highlights of my judging career was judging the Jack and on site Memphis in May (Big Bob Gipson).

Of course during this time is when I met Terrell Jones....... but he will get his on story ..or two...or three... when I am ready to tell them....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BBQ judging was different back then....

When I started judging I got to know both my fellow judges and the cook teams. Usually on Friday nights I would wonder around the cook sites talking to teams and often as not sampling their Friday night supper. .This was great fun. This was how I got to be friends with folks like the Swifts, Bob Fite, Steve Blake, Byron, The Porkticioners (Don, Stick, and Dr. Chris), all the Weddingtons, the McWrights, Governor, Paradise Ridge,  the Tollens, JC, Pete, and so many others. I think interaction between judges and cook team is very important and good.

Then somebody changed the rules and now judges act like they are afraid to speak to cooks. In fact after cooking for eight years , I hardly know any new judges. They just run in their own pack.

Let me say this; Not once did I ever see or learn anything while visiting a cook that would allow me to identify their entry and show preferential treatment. Hell, I don't even think I could pick out my own entry out on a judging table.

If you want to see more unity and a healthier KCBS, this needs to go back to the old way.

a little explaination and where we are going next....

Well there is a pretty big gap between my beginnings in competition BBQ, when I quit posting two years ago and my latest post talking about our most reccent contest, the 24th Annual High on the Hog contest in Winchester Tn. What I pledge to do this year is keep this thing current of what we are doing now as well as slowely catch up most of what we have done in competition BBQ, the people we have met and the places we have been over the past ten or so years.

Next on our schedule of events is the very fine contest in Rome Ga. This will be a second year for this event and it is a good one. Great location and organizer, lots of community support. But I suppose what really makes it special to us is that we were fortunate enough to win Grand champion there last year, barely beating out Bubba-Que and Two Men and a Pig.