(Sand Springs, OK) - It was mostly cloudy and a bit windy today in this suburb of Tulsa as we gathered for the first annual Grillin' & Chillin' BBQ Cookoff presented by the local chamber of commerce. Sand Springs is situated along the Arkansas River -- which for some reason is mostly just a dry river bed. So there was plenty of sand but not much in the way of springs.
A few words about the people putting on this show. Very impressive. They bent over backwards to make the first year memorable in all the good ways. We'd heard from our contact at another first-rate competition that these folks had been up there shadowing them and the buzz was good. Proved to be true.
They picked up all the good habits and made this the sort of event a judge looks forward to attending. They took all the seemingly small, inconsequential issues and made them important. Word from the cooks is that it was similar for them. In fact one high-ranking cook was overheard to say they like to smoke at these first year shows because it can help make them. And when they get in early they always know which ones are the best when it's time to decide when and where to return.
Judging was interesting because a fine coat of dust was blowing into the tent all day long. Coated everything. A sampling plate sitting on a table for five minutes would have a fine coat on it. So that means the crackers were dusty. The meat was dusty. The judges were dusty. Everything. Perhaps a grassy spot for the tent would help -- or spray down the dusty bits before hand with a firehose. Not enough to make mud but enough to still the dust. But that is a very minor complaint and the only one we can must. Carol and Merl Whitebrook did a fine job, as always, overseeing the event and Mary Eubanks and her crew are to be applauded heartily. It can only go up from here and here is already very high in our regards.
P.S. We crashed and totaled a car on the way home. A Volvo no less. That sucked. Still glad we went.