Page 39 - April 2021 Barbecue News Digital
P. 39

 Our ask of Big D was simple, come to have fun and keep our heads cool when the pressure turns up. Big D has survived plenty of weather threats in his 35 years of competitive BBQ. A memorable Memphis in May where a tornado passed just over the top of Bluff City comes to mind. We knew his experience cooking in un- cooperative conditions would come in handy. And it did. On Saturday, he simultaneously worked to anchor the already heavily weighted tent, scooped up cooking supplies as tables crashed down, and was the voice reminding us to stay focused. My efforts to recruit him to Ft. Worth were strategic to help our two-per- son team compete against a sea of larger groups. What I found on-site that day were other 1-2 person teams like us. Big D's famous hat was seen across the crowd floating from tent to tent, meeting and encouraging cooks.
One cook who was especially appreciative of Big D’s encouraging visits was the Steak Tank driver, David Maier, from Cookeville, TN. David took a cooking class from Big D years ago and is amazed their paths have crossed again in the steak world. The Tank is decked out with Big D stickers showcasing ribs that “Make a Puppy Pull a Freight Train.”
Truth be told, the admiration is mutual. You cannot spend 10 sec- onds in David’s presence without feeling like a Rock Star! His pos- itivity is on level ground with his steak cooking abilities. He trotted a serious trail in the past year with several walks to the stage. David’s Steak Tank, a retired USPS carrier truck, became a makeshift first aid station throughout the weekend. On Day 1, I sought shelter from the wind and was greeted with chocolate pudding. On Day 2, tacos were the treat of the day. Late Sunday afternoon, the Steak Tank became a real first-aid station as his wife, Marty, burned all five fingers on an ashcan. Shelia Plute sailed onto the scene with a first aid kit to save the day. Later, karma would return the favor as Shelia’s shouts of joy could be heard across the Will Rogers Auditorium as her husband, Marty Plute (Collinsville, Illinois) won 1st place in the Cowtown Classic Group B.
Swine O'Mine Distributing. When I won 2nd place the next day, Billy and Carrie were the loudest cheerleaders. They hype me up every time I see them. The spirit of cheering for everyone has been at all contests we’ve visited the last year, and it made its presence known in Ft. Worth.
First-year cooks, to seasoned vets like Bill Mann (formerly of Texas), all pat each other on the back, lift one another (sometimes liter- ally) on the stage, and bust a move when they hear a name. This unique experience leads me to encourage others the trip to Ft. Worth is worth it.
Gary Smith, a promoter and owner of Loblolly Farm in Semmes, AL, traveled to Texas to cheer on his SmokeWalkers Team and the two cooks
who won the contest he hosted. He extended his hospitality to team Big D’s Q. What we found Friday night when we arrived at the Rodeo Goat was an SCA family. Reminiscent of an episode of cheers, when someone new walked through the outdoor garden gate, everyone stopped and yelled their name. Our waitress asked how we all know each other and was surprised to learn that a unique group of people travel the country to cook steaks in park- ing lots. A familiar line you will hear Gary Smith say, “cooks are going to cook, judges are going to judge, and promoters are going to promote.” Somehow, when the wind-stirred dust settled, all those people and more combined to experience a fantastic week- end.
Shoutout to the organizers, judges, Reps, and volunteers who made this year’s SCA World Championship an incredible experi- ence. As we walked with Rodney to turn in his finals steak, the Reps lined the doorway and cheered for each competitor. Thanks to a mix-up the day before, Rodney ended up wearing my “I like big butts” apron. I wouldn’t let him change it on Day 2 in hopes it carried good luck. Rodney will always have the memory of turn- ing in his first World Championship finals steak as the Reps broke out singing Sir Mixalot’s “Baby Got Back.”
While we didn’t get that top call we were hoping for, Rodney did manage to drive his
Despite the heavy Saturday winds, all teams pushed through to give their best effort. Another first-year cook, Billy Ashcraft (Jefferson, Arkansas), put up a good showing. We met up with Billy and his wife, Carrie, Fri- day night at the Rodeo Goat for top- notch burgers. Billy and Carrie were some of the first friends we met on the circuit. Billy and I took a judging class at Mark Lambert’s Sweet
Christy Jones took part in the historic Ft. Worth Stockyard and climbed atop a Texas Longhorn.
David Maier and Big D' Danny Montgomery show off the Steak Tank.
baby back home as a finalist and top griller in the world. We also know the people we were for- tunate enough to share our first expe- rience with are all not only top cooks but top-notch friends.
‘Til our wheels touch down in another city, safe travels to all our fellow warriors pro- moting, organizing, judging, and cooking food in parking lots!
Jenn Weaver welcomes Christy Jones to her table.
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