|Softball and Barbeque in Texas|
|Monday, 05 October 2009 21:49|
As he wandered around the competition sites, he noticed many teams would display trophies won at prior events as if to tout, or show-off, their championship barbeque skills. Many teams displayed tables of trophies, making sure the spectator was well aware they were in the presence barbeque greatness.
Mike was finally ready to compete on his own but secretly he wished he had barbeque trophies to display. As he packed his containers in preparation for the contest he began to feel nervous and uneasy. Being new to competition barbeque, there was no big professional custom-built smoker, no huge awnings to set up under, and other than the containers of supplies and an ice chest, it was just Mike, his wife, and his backyard brinkman. How embarrassed he would be with his tiny set-up.
Sitting in his home office reviewing his checklist, he looked up and saw several old Softball trophies ranging in size from two feet to as tall as 5 feet. It then dawned on him, if he brought these trophies stacked them on a table at the back of the tent, from a distance no one would be the wiser. How funny. So, he packed his Softball trophies and set out for the barbeque contest, debating all the way . . . Should he place the softball trophies out on a table, or should he not.
Curious eyes watched as Mike pulled up to his assigned spot and begin to unload his small backyard brinkman and other supplies. People watched as he tied his tarp to poles, set a couple of chairs up with the ice chest between them as a poor man’s table, and as he positioned his smoker out back along with his other supplies he debated about setting up his table of “trophies”.
As contestants walked by some stopped to chat while others just grinned and walked on by. Several inquired as to how long he had been competing. Mike proudly replied for about a year. One fellow wished Mike luck and begin to walk away, and at the last moment spun around and asked, "When is your smoker going to get here?" Mike said that he was going to have to cook the small backyard unit but felt it would be sufficient. The guy chuckled and once again told him "well good luck," walking away with a grin on his face. It was at that moment that Mike decided . . . Here came the trophies.
The first trophy he set up was 5ft tall on four posts. The sun glistened down upon the gold on the trophy and sent shimmers of light out into the ground. The chatter of the barbeque grounds suddenly hushed as Mike turned and placed it on his table. The size of this trophy made one believe it could be no less than a Grand Champion. As Mike pulled the other trophies out of his truck people began to stare and whisper, “Has a wildcard showed up . . . a wildcard that was used to winin?"
Mike sat down, fired up a cigar, and waited for comments . . . The sheer size of the trophies made everyone a tad bit ill-at-ease about approaching such a master barbequer. Finally, someone approached . . . "Where did you get those trophies?" they inquired. Mike replied, "Last spring, there was a barbeque contest and a softball tournament," which wasn't a true inaccuracy, as the barbeque contest was slightly down the road from where the softball tournament was being held. They chatted a bit more, then the fellow walked off, sure that he had just chatted with the guy that was going to take them all to church, by winning this contest.
Several more folk approached, and commented about the nice trophies, but went no closer than where Mike was sitting with his cigar. It began to get dark, and Mike finally sighed with relief, that the joke was still on. As he begin working on the meat under the light of a lantern, the other teams wondered what spices were in the rub, what was in that bottle, when would he put his meat on, was he going to further refrigerate the meat, or let it get room temperature.
As the night wore on, folks on the midnight shift would stop by and chat with him asking about his other team members, while eying, and smelling the smoke pouring from his little smoker. “Just me and the wife” replied Mike...
Morning came and the other teams looked over and noticed Mike . . . still awake, still tending the smoker, and it was still smellin' good. At about 10AM-ish, a visitor to the competition came by and asked Mike how things were going' . . . “Brisket is off and resting, pork butt was done; but we still had Ribs to finish." The guy looked over at the trophies on the table, and said to Mike "Hell, those are softball trophies." Mike replied, "Yep, those are the only trophies that I have ever won," grinning sheepishly.
Apparently the secret was safe with him, as no other contestant, made mention that the gig was up. Mike won first place in Ribs at that tournament and has been hooked ever since.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 08 October 2009 19:36|