Page 26 - April 2021 Barbecue News Digital
P. 26

bbq family
In the World of
BBQ, It’s the People
you Meet and the
Friends You Make
  By: Mark & Gretchen Noordsy Certified Judge
 Over the course of my time with the
BBQ/SCA families I have met so many
wonderful people. This month I am
going to introduce you to and honor
some gentlemen I have named “The
Statesmen”. No, they aren’t a 60’s era
band, rather they are Dick Dahlen, Larry
Dahlen and their brother-in-law Duane
Shores. Why did I name them the
Statesmen? The answer is simple. They
care about others, they volunteer to help
without being asked, they are gentle-
men, they strive to help others be the
best they can be and they have an ex-
traordinary positive outlook on life. For
those of you who know them, met them
or crossed paths with them, you under-
stand why they deserve the title. They certainly fit the criteria for my periodic writing about the Icons and Legends in barbeque.
I first became acquainted with The Statesmen at one of my fa- vorite BBQ contests – Smokin’ In Steele held in Owatonna, MN. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate the value they bring to the sport we all love and enjoy. I remember how approachable, gen- uine, and sharing they were. We started building a friendship from that point forward. If you have encountered them, you too now likely count them as your friends. I’ll introduce you to them based on their collective adventures. When you encounter one of the Statesmen, the other two are certainly nearby.
Dick is an avid canoer and started heading up to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota in the 80’s to spend more time with is family. At first Dick used an outfitter but he now plans and outfits his trips using his own canoes – including the one he built. It wasn’t long before Larry, Duane and their families were joining him with their hand-built canoes. A true family adven- ture. For those that have never heard of or been to the Boundary Waters, it is a magical place for recharging and reflection. No motors allowed and cellphones rarely work. Of course, competi- tion is in their DNA and it was in the Boundary Waters where Dick’s sense of humor came to life. First you need to know Larry is the avid fisherman of the group. One morning Dick paddled out onto the lake to go fishing. Pretty soon he was standing in his
canoe and yelling while holding up a tro- phy size northern pike. All on shore looked on in amazement at Dick’s fish- ing prowess. Soon the canoe was rock- ing back and forth and the fish escaped back into the water. Dick arrived back on shore to accolades and congratula- tions plus a healthy dose of jealously from Larry. Duane however noticed Dick had a distinctive aroma about him. After a little detective work he determined Dick had found and held up a dead fish in order to punk Larry! Yes, they are competitive, but in a good way.
With all that time in quiet reflection, the
always thinking and planning Dick con- vinced his brother Larry and brother-in-law Duane to join him in
taking a KCBS judging class in preparation of his retirement a couple of years later. The inspiration came while parking cars at a KCBS event in the Twin Cities and getting to know the great peo- ple involved in BBQ. The class was in Des Moines, Iowa requiring a two-hour road trip. Dick insisted it would be fun. Little did Duane know what he was getting into. His first hint should have been that he would be traveling in Larry’s VW since Dick had a reputation of running out of gas. Can you visualize 3 grown men squeezing into a VW without a smile coming across your face? I can’t. Their legacy, adventures and myths were just beginning ... and they didn’t even realize it. - 26
APRIL 2021
Duane Shores, Larry Dahlen and Dick Dahlen with the strip canoes they built
Statesmen Duane Shores
Dick, the patriarch, determined which contests they would judge based on locations he wanted to visit and what type of BBQ he wanted to learn about. They quickly learned that Texas prefers heat, the Midwest prefers sweet and that they loved both kinds. Dick and Larry usually comman- deered the front seats leaving Duane to squeeze into the back seat. That may have been a bless- ing. Squished into the back seat,

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