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Competition & Events '09

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21st annual Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue (Lynchburg TN)

You know how sometimes in life certain special events don't live up to the expectations you have built up in your mind over the years? I had been building up the Jack Daniel's contest in my mind for nearly 6 years now, ever since I first heard about it and knew I had to go. It took me 6 years to earn my invitation, and I am happy to say that the experience was even better than I had imagined. 

I brought along the whole gang to this great event as a token of thanks for all the hard work they do throughout the year. We left from work Wednesday and made the 9 hour trip to Kennesaw, GA where we stayed the night. The next morning we made the 3.25 hour trip into Lynchburg & found the way to our site. We were set up front & center almost, backed up to a small creek that ran through the property. It was a great spot, with good power & water - until a main broke on Saturday. We unpacked a few things, met our fun neighbors the Big Boyz Cookin' Crew, then got ready for our 1:00pm seating at Ms. Mary Bobo's for lunch.

Miss Mary Bobo's used to be a boarding house in Lynchburg, and is now run by Jack Daniel's great grandniece. It is a family style dining experience, with several groups of diners seated at large tables. Food is brought out in large serving bowls and there is plenty of everything, We were served country ham, fried chicken, squash casserole, fried okra, green beans, baked apples, corn bread, and chocolate brownie pie for dessert. It was all down-home and delicious, just as you'd expect. 

After lunch we took the short walk back to our cook site, checking the sights along the way...

Halloween totem poles made from JD barrels

Park where contest is held

When we got back to our site, we loaded up in the truck and drove to the Jack Daniel Distillery to take a tour. We were hoping to get paired up with fellow barbecue enthusiast and JD tour guide David Roper, but he was already done for the day. Instead we got Margie, and she did a great job. The tour lasted about 90 minutes and was free. We really enjoyed it!

Outside the Distillery

Little did I know we'd be winning a smaller version of the statue below :)

Where they burn and make the filtering charcoal 

Tammy and Woody at the spring where the water comes from

Jack and Amy

Jack's office

I got fussed at by our guide for taking this picture.
We weren't supposed to take pics inside the building.

Friday morning the gang started getting our site ready for the "Happiest Home in the Hollow" contest, while I started prepping my meat. Everything went well and they had the site looking great. The guidelines stated that your site should reflect your home state, and I don't think any other site did it better than ours.

Robin guarding the still

Tammy playing the spoons

Woody at the fishin' hole

Friday afternoon we assembled for the parade of teams which was a lot of fun. All the teams paraded from the contest area, through the town square, to awaiting busses which took us up to BBQ Hill.

Ready for the parade of teams

Waiting for the start

Teams lined up for the parade

The pavilion up on BBQ Hill is a really neat open-air building that the folks at Jack Daniel's have built for special events. One end of it is totally open, with a beautiful view of the valley below. There is a huge fireplace, a stage for live bands, and seating for hundreds for supper. We were treated to a very tasty meal, live music from a national recording artist from Nashville, a big roaring fire, and a beautiful view. Oh, I forgot to mention - an open bar featuring the local "product". :)

Looking through to the open west wall

View from the west wall

Never miss a photo op!

There was a little rain Friday night, but Saturday was a beautiful day. I was able to partake in the 9:22 ritualistic good luck Gentleman Jack shot with the Rev (Ulcer Acres), and again about an hour later with last year's Jack GC, Kelly of 4 Legs Up. 

After that it was all business as we did the final preparations and box building for the main 4 turn ins. I was extremely pleased with everything I turned in and would be excited to turn in the same quality at any contest. Amy made some delicious banana pudding to enter into the dessert category and it looked and tasted great! As always we don't take pictures of our turn ins to  avoid any possible bad luck. They all looked great though and we were proud of our efforts.

Amy's Dad and his dog Nellie drove over and had a good visit!

The girls handed out free samples of our food after all turn ins were done, and I started cleaning up. Awards were scheduled for 5:00 at the Moorehead 4-H Pavilion, which was overflowing with people.

The awards were done very well. It took about an hour though before they got to any categories we were entered in. No call for "Happiest Home in the Hollow", and no call for dessert. We were all disappointed yet knew that we had done our best. that's the way it goes :) When it got to the main 4 barbecue categories I had high hopes. No call in chicken, no call in ribs, and then finally we heard what I had so hoped we would - they called out "Swamp Boys" for first place in Pork!! The next few moments felt and seemed very surreal for me as we made our way to the stage, high-fiving friends along the way. Greeting us at the stage were Jack Daniel's Master distiller Jeff Arnet, and Honorary Pit Master Adam Perry Lang, as seen on the Food Network and Daisy May's BBQ in NYC. For our efforts, we received a great trophy with a statue of Mr. Daniel on it, a bottle of his spirits, some stainless steel bbq tools, a fancy French ceramic pot, a wad of money, and most importantly, the claim to



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