Clovisfest Red, Hot & Real BBQ September 23rd - 24th, 2005 Clovis, CA
news - BBQ News 2005

This was a challenge. We decided that we would promote a contest in Clovis, CA. Sounds easy enough! Now what?

The Chamber of Commerce seemed a good place to start as they put on a lot of events in Clovis. It must have been fate, I went to the Chamber to talk to them about my idea and Mark told me to look at his computer. On there he had a list of ideas of how they could improve the ClovisFest. There it was the word Barbeque.

So fate played a hand here, it was meant to be. All that was left was details. No problem. Oh yeah, what is the saying "the devil is in the details". This was February and we had all kinds of time. Well it seemed that way. I won't go into all of the details of this process but I have a new found respect for people that organize and put on an event like this. This became a part time job for my wife Kim and she really did the footwork and follow up that never ends putting on a venue like this.

We really tried to focus on the teams and make this a contest for them. We made sure that we had the best payout in California; we fed them an Italian dinner (courtesy of Diciccos Italian Restaurant) on Friday and breakfast (courtesy of the American Legion Post #147) on Saturday. We gave all teams a participation award (a little smoker) Smart & Final gave gift cards. Savemart really stepped up to the plate to participate in a big way. They had top of the line produce and Master Cut meats available to the teams. They even had a shuttle for the teams to and from the store at their disposal. Ice was provided at no charge. The judges received a mug with the ClovisFest logo as well as al of the volunteers. We really wanted to make the teams feel welcome in our little town. Most of all we wanted a contest that teams wanted to come back to.

The teams were provide with an event shirt and apron and were paid down 5 places with some pretty cool medals to 10th.

Fiesta Grills along with Savemart put on a Fiesta Grills Challenge on Saturday afternoon with 6 teams participating. The food that came out of this with the ingredients and time allowed was tremendous. All of the teams demonstrated real talent and imagination. I was overwhelmed with what they had done. Each team was given the grill that they cooked on and the winner (Carolina Kitchen out of Nevada) received $1,000.00 and a beautiful engraved butcher block.

The overall Grand Champion of the contest was Burbank Bad Boys. And we were very happy for them. Randy Gille works very hard to compete and it is great to see people like that win. I already new he was a champion as he does a lot of charity work.

There was so much work to do and things to take care of that we did not get to mingle with all of the teams as much as we would have liked to. All of the teams told us that they loved the contest. In fact there was a special moment I must mention. At the awards we were getting ready to announce the winners and Jerry King of Midland Texas came to the stage to present Kim with a beautiful Ivy plant and to thank us for the contest. Everyone in the crowd stood and cheered. I can't begin to tell you how deeply that touched us. That made it all worthwhile and we will never forget it. Thank you Jerry (our favorite Texan)!

There are certain people we need to thank and told how much they are appreciated. Don Bean of Savemart who went out of his way to insure that we had everything to make this a fantastic contest. Gene Goycochea for saving the day (again) to step in for Lee McWright from Fiesta Grills at the last minute. After his wife became suddenly ill. (She is doing much better today and is progressing well we are happy to hear). We would like to thank Kim's sister Sandy and her husband Dave who did whatever needed to be done. Brother Kentley who can always be counted on and our kids Janelle, Troy and Nick. Grant & Jeni Ford as always. George and Donna Baroody who were the contest reps walked us through what needed to be done. All of the guys (especially Randy) at the American Legion for the use of their great facilities. Pat Brandon who did all of the photography. And finally Sean at the city of Clovis. You really guided us through the swamp when we were up to our butts in alligators. Thank you City of Clovis Mayor and city council members for your understanding.

Most of all we thank the 33 teams. Without you this would not have been possible.