Page 10 - April 2021 Barbecue News Digital
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  December, 1997, he was certified as a judge for Memphis in May. He began judging contests in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Not long after that he was certified in Lakeland as a KCBS judge. He attended and judged his first Jack in 1997 and has attended most of the Jacks since then. At this point he was judging contests in Washington DC, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. A contest that was special to him was the Butt to Butt, organized by Mike and Theresa Lake in Illinois, and he judged that one several times. There weren’t a lot of contests in Florida and the ones here were sanctioned by organizations a long way away, Memphis in May and KCBS. A group of active BBQ folks felt Florida needed their own BBQ organization and Mike joined with several of them to form the Florida BBQ Association, around 1999. Mike was a founding member of FBA. Cliff Welch wrote the rules, Steve Smith set up the scoring system, and Mike worked with them, and others, in the early formation of FBA. He de- scribed this early formation to be a blending of the KCBS and Memphis in May rules and procedures. He met up with the Loin Brothers and joined that team to learn the cooking side of Competition BBQ. His first cooking experience was at the Fun Cook in Clermont, an FBA contest. By 2002 he had earned his Masters Credentials for both KCBS and FBA. He said he had never organized a
contest but had done just about everything else. As he built up his experience base and high visibil- ity this evolved into him becom- ing a Rep. Mike was one of the original Reps for both the PigJam, in Plant City and the PigFest in Lakeland. He has Rep’d most of those contests since those origi- nal beginnings of those two events. Today they are two of Florida’s top BBQ events.
Mike has a very high profile in Florida BBQ circles. I have come to know him pretty well and have a great degree of respect for him.
Carolyn Wells, of KCBS fame, has co Rep’d many contests with Mike. She speaks very highly of him and his capabili- ties. In her words he is conscientious and always willing to do what is necessary to keep a contest running smoothly. It is a real pleasure working with him at a contest because you can always count on him to take care of any situation. I see the military training coming out here, particularly as an Officer. When any situation arises you simply take care of it, you do what you have to do to keep things moving for- ward. Mike has been interviewed on various radio stations, appeared in numerous newspaper articles, and is generally recognized as a BBQ expert. He continues to give back. An- nually he cooks for the Seminole County Sheriffs Depart- ment and they look forward to this event every year. He also cooks for the Oviedo Police Department, the law en- forcement officers in his home town. He always looks for- ward to cooking for the Orange County Veterans Administration offices providing special meals for the Dis- abled Vets in Orange County. Through the years he has Rep’d around 60-65 contests over 16 years. He has judged around 80 contests. That includes 11 years at the American Royal, 11 years at Memphis in May, and several years at the Jack. He prefers the Memphis style of cooking, particularly their ribs. Ribs are his first choice in BBQ meats and once
again, that is also my favorite category. His favorite cooker is the Green Egg. I don’t know how many times we have answered a roll call when the other’s name is called. Garretson vs Garrison. He concludes his description of the many things he has accomplished in BBQ as everything he has done has been FUN, and he wouldn’t trade the friends he has made, the experiences he has had, and the many memories for anything. I think Mike’s middle name must be BBQ. We all have benefitted from his many contri- butions. Let’s go smoke some ribs, Mike. - 10
APRIL 2021

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