Go for the Gold
news - BBQ News 2004

I thought that's what they said. It was surreal, I turned to Kim, she had the same look I think I had. We both look dumbfounded, "Did you hear that?" I was in shock, I could not believe it! Everything seems like a blur for the next few minutes. Really the next few hours, this was a real dream come true!

Follows Camp is a great location for a BBQ contest. It is like Los Angeles (LA) advanced in time and Follows Camp is in a time warp, circa 1962. An old fashion family fun place, real camping nothing luxurious. Hope the "beautiful people" in LA never find out what's in their backyard, I'm sure they would have it carpeted, paved, landscaped and put in a sushi bar!

We were really prepared and planned well for this contest and stuck to the plan! Verna from Holy Smokes BBQ team hung out with us as Carl (her husband) worked as a table captain for the contest. Along with Verna was her daughter Carla and her friend Sarah, who was our runner for the contest. That was a good thing as it was HOT as a "two dollar pistol" and a long way to the turn in table.

We felt good about everything we cooked, especially the Ribs. Judges agreed for once and we took #1 in Ribs. Carla was a vegetarian for the last ten years of her life, but finally succumbed to the BBQ.

She had Ribs, Chicken, Brisket, I could tell she felt better and the color returned to her skin almost immediately! It was all good.

Follows Camp "Go for the Gold" Literally!

Have to talk about a special award given us by the folks at Follows Camp. Tradition had been that the overall winner of the "Go for the Gold" in addition to the trophy and cash would receive a nugget of gold from Joe Davidson, the owner of Follows Camp. I personally did not know Joe myself but have heard other BBQer's talk about him with the utmost respect. He really made this contest something special and has earned himself a legend status among the BBQer's here on the west coast. Joe passed away unexpectedly a couple of years ago and the "Go for the Gold" contest suffered as a result as well.

This year cookers talked about making the "Go for the Gold" special again and that Joe would have wanted it to continue in no other way. Ray Shokatford, (Joe's longtime friend) stepped in and really worked to make this happen. Twenty Eight teams showed up to cook, a tremendous amount for us in California (at least for now) to show support for this venue.

In a complete surprise to everyone, the people of Follows Camp decided to re-instate the giving of the gold nugget to the grand champion with a twist. They actually worked the river that goes through the camp that everyone says has gold in it, to find a piece from the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. We had seen the dredges and the people working up the river earlier that day but had know idea what they were up to, really didn't give it a second thought.

After we had received the grand champion trophy they called us back to the stage, they said they had a special presentation to make. Craig Jones & Terry Eagon (the new owners) along with Ray Shokatford and some of the permanent residents of Follows Camp including a colorful gentleman referred to as the "Mayor of Follows Camp". I had no idea what this was about, but I could see the emotion in their faces, as they told the story of Joe giving the nugget every year and how they wanted to re-instate the gesture in his honor. With that said, they opened a small golden box that held a beautiful piece of gold that they harvested that day from the river. Not a dry eye in the place. That gold means a lot to us, as the spirit in which it was given meant so much to everyone. It will always be a most cherished award.