Team Top Chick

Team Top Chick
GC Rome, Ga. 2010

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jerry Jeff Walker Pick Up Truck Song

A little song for Fathers Day. For all the Dads and Grand Dads and their Pick Up Trucks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Well I decided to test my theory that judges are now afraid to talk to cook teams  This past weekend in Lewisburg I sat outside my trailer on the path leading to the judging tent where they were feeding cooks and judges supper on Friday afternoon /night..Several walked by., I know they were judges cause they had badges and pins, lots of pins,. I greeted each warmly, "Hello, How are you? where you from? Hope you get something good to eat tomorrow, hope it's mine". Most only managed a weak "Hi"as they kept their head down  and kept walking. One however did say in response to my wish that he get something good to eat and it be mine, "you may not know this, but we don't know who's BBQ we are eating, we really don't ." "Do you know anything about judging" he asked me. Well I was a master judge before I started cooking, I said. "oh well i guess you do know what we do" he said.Not one had enough interest to ask about our cooker, meat or anything else.As I have said before they (The Judges) just run in their own pack now, largely oblivious to the cooks around them. Sometimes I think we would be just as well off to just load the bus down at the nursing home and bring them on down on Saturday morning....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

OK ,why do I do it?

I just got in from a contest in Lewisburg TN., where I got my ass kicked. I'm sore, tired, it was in the mid 90's, it cost money that should be going into an IRA or college fund, and I arrogantly felt I should finish in the top three. So why bother? A question I ask as we hurriedly drive off after awards. A good shower and night's sleep can put it in perspective.

From a broad perspective, it's small town America at at it's best, a bunch of hard working volunteers, and a few local sponsors coming together to do something nice for their local community and raise a little money for some good causes. They succeeded: good music, good food, cool vendors, balloon rides, jumping tents, and a mechanical bull. What else could you possibly need?

But what about me? I mean after all my wife and girls didn't make this trip (for the first time ever none of them went). Have they outgrown it? Should I take up golf, like normal people my age do?

First it was a chance to spend a weekend with my oldest son Russell. To make up for some of the lost time when I was too busy chasing my job and too tired when I was at home.Russell didn't have it as easy as my other children for many reasons. He has grown into a fine young man that I am very proud of and truly enjoy spending time with. I am honored that he wants to do this with me now. The fact that he is highly competitive, has a great sense of taste, and builds turn in boxes that get near perfect appearance scores is just a plus.

I also got to take two young men from our church that have a genuine desire to learn about BBQ and aren't afraid to work. They used the "mentor' word, which is scary, and put up with my bitchy Saturday morning contest attitude. They said they had a ball, learned a lot, and thanked me?

The friends I have missed seeing, Bill and Nina, a retired couple that used to compete as Bill and the Dixie Chicks were in the area came by to see some of their old BBQ friends. That was cool.

The General Porkticioners, one of the first BBQ teams I became friends with when I started judging, reunited for this event, two truck drivers and a medical doctor. This was the first time they had all been together in years and their comeback was successful with several good calls.

The Tolens, Jim and Jim Jr., Butts Bellies and Buddies I and II. Father and Son, sometimes they cook together sometimes they cook separate, but they always have a good time and are a pleasure to be around. Jim Sr. builds some of the most beautiful hand crafted BBQ pits anywhere.With pride he told us the story of the chrome rail on the pit and how it was originally attached to the back of a fire truck that he held on to as he rode to fires as a young fireman in the1960's.

Jiggy Piggy who would win Reserve Grand, Bob and Steve are great cooks and more importantly great people. They go at each other all the time, but you know there is a deep friendship and respect there.

Pete Moon of Bean Bandits, cooks alone, builds his own cookers, and has the best designed BBQ trailer in the game. He has a great engineering mind. He is a friend that will loan you anything you need and probably has it. NASA calls him when they need some spare parts for the shuttle. He came so close to his first grand with a third place finish. I want to be around to see his first grand. When it happens it will be a popular win, Pete has a lot of friends and respect on the circuit.

Brenda and Terry, alias Buck and Lou of High on the Hog, it was their day! Grand Champion with a bang! So good to see them do well after what they have been through.

Breakfast at Goobys BBQ. Jan and Bill Davis,two of the nicest people on the circuit have a tradition of cooking breakfast for their neighbors on contest Saturday mornings, and what a breakfast it is. I am so glad they got some good calls. 

And finally the last group to mention were the loud, drunk yuppies attempting their first ever contest that were set up next to us. I mention them only because it is said that a good teacher teaches with examples and contrasts. I told my two young apprentices, everyone else you have met here represents the best and why we do competition BBQ, but here is the exception. Or as my friend the late Terrell Jones often said 'I've met about 10,000 good people in BBQ and about two assholes."

So lets clean up the stuff, restock the trailer and get ready to go again.

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....