Thursday, July 17, 2008

Illinois State BBQ Championship:
Butt to Butt X Invitational (Part Three)

This is part three in a series of posts from our trip to the Butt to Butt Invitational and the Illinois State BBQ Championship. For part one, click here, for part two, click here...or just scroll down to the posts below.

Following the storms, lightning strikes and fires, it was time for the Butt to Butt Invitational awards. Now these are not your normal awards. They are conducted at the cooks meeting for the regular KCBS contest, which was held at 8:00pm on Friday night. This meant most, if not all, of the cooks competing in the 63 team contest were present...and it seemed like even more people were there.

Mike Lake went through the basic rules of the contest, but most everyone was there to see who would win the Butt to Butt competition. Mike called each of the Butt to Butt teams to the front of the tent and introduced them. One by one we would walk to the front. And one by one we would be asked to sit down again.

It's a process of elimination, resulting with the winner as the only contestant left standing. But instead of starting at last place and working his way up to the winner, Mike starts at second to last. Meaning at the end there are two people standing is the winner and the other finished last.

I had been warned by several people what was about to happen. Most of the former Butt to Butt contestants I had spoken to said we should just hope to finish 4th or 5th and avoid the nerve-racking feeling of standing in front of the assembled crowd.

As Mike began reading the names of the teams I was a wreck. I could hear Rod from Pellet Envy and Chris talking. Both were wishing (loud enough that I could hear) to be the next team called to sit down. We were still standing as they called 6th place...then 5th place...then 4th...just as I thought "maybe we won this thing," I heard our name and happily took our seat, very proud of a 3rd place finish among the countries best cooks!

Rod got his wish too and was the next team called to sit down, in 2nd place. Mike Flach of the team Weekend Smokers wound up with a great upset win over a very strong field that included past grand champions of the American Royal, The Jack Daniels World Invitational and top finishers in the Kansas City BBQ Society's annual year end rankings. Congrats to Mike.

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