On any weekend if you were to take one of the most beautiful areas in Tennessee, add a great lake, 100+ Bass Boats, some of the country's top fisherman some would say you would have a perfect weekend. The only thing missing (IMHO) would be the sweet smelling smoke from 30+ smokers barbecuing. If you were near Paris Landing in Paris Tennessee this past weekend then you were sure to see many people having the perfect weekend. Over 30 Pro & Back-Yard BBQ Teams & over 100 Bass Anglers competed in the first ever American Bass Anglers Barbeque Cook-Off. Paris is the first of five to be held in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, & Arkansas. I must admit, when I heard about this combination I was a bit skeptical, but after taking a chance on the inaugural event, DoRagQ is "ALL IN"! The ABA knows how to put on a great event! Sure there were a few glitches, that is to be expected at a first year contest. The ABA got those taken care of & proceeded to put on a very cool contest. I was very impressed with the ABA and look for them to learn from the glitches & make the next stop in Kuttawa, KY even better!
The Bass Tournament was very interesting as I had never been to one. I was very impressed at the lengths the ABA & Anglers go to insure the well being of the fish. The Bass are constantly in aerated water & carefully released after weigh-in to insure the continued growth of fish in the lake. The ABA Staff was very professional & concerned that the BBQ'ers were taken care of as well. The "Icemen" were frequent, & there was always someone from the ABA asking if we needed anything. This first year event was run as well if not better than some I have participated in with more experience. Again, my DoRag is off to the ABA & Early Times!
As for the BBQ thing, we had a great time. The weather was perfect and we had many members of our BBQ Family in attendance. Team Allegro, Shadetree Cooks, The Pit Crew BBQ Team, Swiggin Pig, & Big River BBQ to name a few. We even had some family in the Backyard division with Gooby's BBQ & T's Custom Smokers there as well. It was great to see them all. For the first time in several contest all members of DoRagQ would be in attendance! Gary, Richard & I arrived, set up, & prepped meat. Several Teams had decided to cook steaks & fixins for dinner & before you knew it we had a full blown chow line forming. I don't know how we pulled it off but between Swiggin Pig, Jiggy Piggy, The Pit Crew, & Gettin Piggy With It, we fed over 30 people! Many were with the ABA & Early Times & it was great to get to know them & share some grub! I think a good time was had by all. (Thanks Joe for the gift!) The remaining night was calm by DoRag's standards. So we all turned in early & got some shut-eye.
Saturday morning we awoke to over 200 trailer lights lined up at the boat ramp! It was quite a scene watching them orchestrate launching their boats. I think they have done this a time or two. Around 5:30 AM we headed over to the pier and watched the ABA peeps do a safety inspection on the boats. A quick playing of the National Anthem & off they went! We headed back to Casa DoRag & whooped up some breakfast. The rest of the morning we spent visiting & cooking. By mid-morning most everything was going according to plan. We had one stubborn pork butt that did not want to get up to temperature, but that was the only glitch. We constructed our boxes & made all the turn-ins on time. Now all we had to do was wait it out. The awards were advertised as 5-ish so we cleaned up & packed.
Around 3PM we headed over to watch the weigh-in. I am here to tell you there was some Big-Ass Fish! I think the "Biggest Fish" was 7.4 LBS! Very cool! I can see why these guys & gals do this. Very exciting! Finally the weigh-in was over & the attention was on the BBQ. The first awards were for the Backyard Division. Our good friend Smokin T's Custom Smokers got calls in both chicken & ribs & won RGC & friends Gooby's BBQ took 2nd in chicken & 1st in ribs taking the GC! What a great finish. Congrats to all! the announcer was only calling out the top 5 in each category so it was hard to figure out where you stood. We did not get a top 5 call in chicken with Big River gettin the win followed by Jiggy Piggy in 2nd & Swiggin Pig in 4th. Ribs started out with Swiggin Pig getting a call in 5th & again Jiggy Piggy in 2nd. We thought we had good ribs & figured we were somewhere 6th to 10th. But wait! We could not believe it when we got the first place call for ribs! Holy sheep-shit Batman! Call the Chief! WOW! I am still excited! Needless to say there was some hoopin & hollerin goin on! We once tied for 1st in ribs but lost the tiebreaker so this was our first bonnified win in a category! It was great to get the win with Gary & Richard both there. They have worked hard for this & I'm glad to share it with them. Ok, back to the rest of the categories. In pork, Team Allegro got the call for 5th & Big River came in 3rd. You guessed it, Jiggy Piggy was 2nd & our Arkansas friends Delta Smoke took the win! In brisket, there were some new names. Hillbilly Hoggers, Smelly Butts BBQ, & Redneck Grillers were 5th thru 3rd. Again, Jiggy Piggy was 2nd & the win went to Barry, Mike, & Riley of Swiggin Pig! Great Job! I must admit even with a 1st in ribs I was somewhat disappointed that we had not gotten any other calls so when they gave the overall top 10 we were sure surprised to hear DoRagQ called in 4th place! We had managed a 7th in chicken, a 7th in pork, & 9th in brisket. Combined with our 1st place ribs we had a pretty good day! Congrats to Jiggy Piggy, their 4-2nds were un-stoppable & they took the GC with Redneck Grillers from Missouri taking RGC. Great location, great weather, great new association with the ABA, great people, & good friends. Hell that would have been enough for us to consider it a great weekend. To get 4 top 10's & our first ever category win, priceless!
Thanks to all our BBQ Family for the kind words, calls, & emails. They mean the world to us. Thanks to all that have given us advice & help as we continue to learn the art of BBQ. Thanks to Jack S. Rife, Jr. (my Grampo) for teaching me about BBQ & celebrating his 90th birthday on 7/14. Thanks to Gary & Richard for being great friends & the "Do" in DoRagQ! Hope we can continue to "not make anybody sick with our food"! We will be headin down to McMinnville on August 14th & 15th. Come hang out with us if your in the area. We love company but when we say you gotta git, you gotta go!