Last weekend our family took a trip back to my home town in North Bend, Nebraska. The occasion was the annual Old Settler’s Days – it’s your basic small town community event, complete with a carnival, baseball games, a parade and lots of other stuff going on at the city park.
Part of the festivities included a “Kiddie Parade,” which is basically just a bunch of pretty cute kids strutting their stuff about a half a block down the street. Some dress in costumes, others ride decorated bikes and some kids showed off their pets.
My sister told us that our nieces would be riding their very stylish pink pedal tractor in the parade, so I figured we should bring our 2 ½ year old boy Jack’s tractor as well. Both tractors came courtesy of Uncle Eric and Aunt Laura last Christmas. For good measure, I threw Jack’s mini-smoker in the back of the pick-up. Some of you may remember that little cooker that Jack got for his birthday from his Uncle Kurt back in February.
We weren’t sure what all was involved in the parade. Some of the entries were really good. Turns out there were three categories. Jack and his cousins were in the “Bike and Wagon” category. Jammie dressed Jack in a pair of overalls (no shirt, thank you very much!), and his cowboy hat and I hitched the smoker up to his Oliver and lit a fire in the firebox.
Jack is still learning to pedal his tractor, so to keep things moving in the parade we tied a rope to the tractor so I could pull him through the route. You can’t see it the pictures very well, but his pit was smoking pretty good. About halfway through the parade I think he finally "got" what was going on and started smiling from ear to ear. He loves the attention. Then he started yelling "Dodge County Smokers!!!," something he has been doing a lot lately when he hears people clapping (as they were when he rode by). I think he associates the applause with the awards at a competition and he knows we wait to hear our name!
Before and after the parade several people asked me what I did to “make smoke come out of that BBQ grill?” When I told them there was a real fire in there, some were shocked! Others were surprised. And some were just plain confused. A real fire? The horror!
He ended up with a third place ribbon, but just like a BBQ contest, the judges don’t know anything and he was robbed! We’ll back next year, and maybe we’ll be more prepared. I’m thinking a few ribs for the judges should do the trick!