Finally, the euphoria and adrenaline from being in Lynchburg last weekend is starting to subside, and now I can really start to reflect on just what transpired in the hollow. In my last post, I attempted to portray the general overall sense of excitement and sweet smoke at the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Today I want to tackle another aspect of the weekend — the amazing people!
Prior to this past weekend, I published a series of blogs highlighting some of the teams that would be attending the event. This weekend gave me the opportunity to meet those teams in person, along with many others. But first, let me give a shout-out to my travel partner Jay Prince, the tech/gadget reviewer for BBQ Sauce Reviews. He drove the entire time and was really good company!
After doing the tour upon arrival and checking out the hardware store, we headed down to the hollow to visit the teams. One of the first teams we spotted right away was Mike & Debbie Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ. It is always a pleasure getting to speak with Mike & Debbie, and today was certainly no exception. I consider Mike to be a legend in competition BBQ, and rightfully so!
Jay and I continued our walk around the competition area talking to various teams. We got to meet TippyCanoe BBQ (winners of the 2011 American Royal Invitational and 2011 Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour), Smokey’s Competition BBQ Team (our good friends Charles and Alli of C-Dub’s BBQ Rub were competing with them), and numerous others. We even got the chance to meet Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson BBQ and the Man in Black himself, Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South.
One of the teams we enjoyed spending a lot of time with was Pork Barrel BBQ. Brett and Heath were very gracious and gladly spent a lot of time talking to the two of us about many different subjects. It was great seeing them again (I had the privilege of meeting Heath at a competition in Lexington, NC). We would have stayed and chatted longer, but turn-ins drew near, and it was crunch time. Jay was even able to snag a bottle of Que Cologne to try out.
In general, I had a great time just walking around and chatting with the teams. They all seemed to be having a great time and enjoying the atmosphere — relishing in the moment. I enjoyed talking with Kit Rudd of Degüello BBQ and Mike Peters of Here Piggy Piggy BBQ. It was fun chatting with the guys from Hot Grill on Grill Action and watching Guy Fieri prepping a turn-in for Motley Que BBQ.
Another thing that I discovered while in Lynchburg was that Canadian teams are by far the friendliest teams ever! We had the privilege of talking to all but one of the Canadian teams competing at the Jack, and every single one of them were absolutely friendly and welcoming! I was especially excited to get to meet the Canadian teams I profiled as part of my “Teams that Do Know Jack” series. The first team we met was DivaQ, and that was nothing but sheer awesomeness there!
In fact, we had such a great time that Danielle ended up making me an honorary Canadian for the day!
We also had the opportunity to visit with Rob Reinhardt and the team from Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ. With the time ticking close to turn-in, Rob was nice enough to come over and chat with us for a few minutes. The whole team was super nice!
We also had the chance to visit with The Black Pig BBQ. Wow! These guys were the pure definition of friendly! We chatted with various team members for at least a half-hour. Even as chicken turn-in was approaching, we were taking team pictures and having a great time!
I also want to give a shout-out to Can’t Stop Grilling and Well Seasoned and the Canada Q Crew. Thank you for taking time out to chat with Jay and myself. We really appreciate it!
So there you go… the mystique of the Jack is not only in the location and tradition of the competition, but also in the teams that are in the field. I can’t wait to get back up to Lynchburg again next year!