Clovisfest Red, Hot & Real BBQ September 2006
news - BBQ News 2006
Clovisfest Red, Hot & Real BBQ
September 2006
Clovis, CA

ClovisFest LogoWOW!

It was a real honor to have our bbq brethren come to Clovis to compete. After trekking all across the country, it was nice to pack up and drive 5 blocks. Even nicer to drive home!

Last year ClovisFest Red Hot & Real BBQ was started by Kim and me so that we could have a contest in the middle of the state. Our idea was to make this contest for the teams. Try to take care of every need, provide meals, ice, t-shirts and aprons. Also to provide interesting side attractions and a great prize fund. We also wanted the contest to provide for deserving children's charities. Well I think we accomplished our goal.

Knowing that I love to compete, working the contest was not what I wanted to do. It was always a part of the plan to find someone to take this contest and maintain it and improve on it so we could compete in our hometown.

SaveMart was one of the first people I thought of to take it over as they have the resources to become a sound steward of the contest. They agreed and promised to fulfill the goals that we had laid out for the event.

Dr. BBQ, Ray LampeWe had the most teams ever for California at this contest and the competition was awesome. Friday night we had a catered Italian dinner from the local restaurant, DiCicco's. After dinner we had a presentation class by Lee McWright of the famous, Music City Pig Pals. One of the greatest bbq teams of all times. It was fantastic to see Lee and Bobbi along with Dr BBQ, Ray Lampe in attendance at a California BBQ contest. I think the west coast has demonstrated we are a significant player in the bbq scene these days.

The Pit Stop BBQ's 1stThe "Anything Butt" category was won by Pit Stop BBQ, one of my favorite teams as I know how hard they work at this and how generous they are at helping everyone. I love when people like Pete and Pam get the call. This was going to be a great weekend for them.

Fiesta Grill challenge is similar to an Iron Chef cook off put on by Fiesta Grills and run by Lee McWright was amazing. Six teams were drawn on Friday night to participate and given their bag of ingredients Sat morning. The teams started cooking on their Fiesta Grills (each team keeps the grill for participating) at 2:30 with one hour to finish a main dish, side and dessert. I was stunned with the food that they turned out. You have to be very creative to conquer this challenge and our group in Clovis was exceptional. We had the youngest participant (7 year old Jack) from Ridgeback BBQ along with his proud parents and Marion Meredith (80 years young, mother of Bentley & Kristin) of Burnt by the Best. What an inspiration.

Kristin and Marion MeridethThe unknown meat item was tri tip and the teams made thing from beef Wellington to pizza along with unbelievable side dishes and desserts from their box of random items. When the award time came we learned that the winning team had scored a near perfect score, the highest ever out of 20 of these contest. Lee had a very clever way of announcing the winner by having the youngest participant, Jack come up to the stage and present the winner with the 35 lb custom engraved butcher block and $1000.00 cash to our Fiesta Grill champion MERIDETH(THE OLDEST) ALONG WITH HER DAUGHTER KRISTEN of Burnt by the Best. It brought down the house. I have never seen such a reaction. Everyone was cheering and going nuts, it was something to behold.

In the Red Hot a Real contest, a contest I really wanted to win. Not only because it was my hometown but they had the coolest trophy for the grand champion and the reserve. QN4U was not to prevail, we ended up 4th overall which is higher than I though as we struggled in a couple of categories.

Jerry King, Grand ChampThis years Grand Champion was Jerry King of Midland Texas. He is one of the top bbqers in the country and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He gets to take home the special Clovis trophy, a Remington bust of a cowboy on a bucking horse. The same as the life size one the City of Clovis had installed at the entrance to downtown. Reserve Champion and a similar trophy went to Jay and Monica of Otis and the Bird out of Mesa, AZ., one of the hottest teams in bbq.

Larry Hill of BLQUE donated a Traeger Grill that was raffled off on Sunday with the proceeds going to Make a Wish Foundation. His generous donation raised a lot of money for the charity. If you see Larry at a contest or somewhere be sure to tell him thank you, for it is people like him that quietly go about doing good deeds without fanfare. These are the kind of people that make the association special.

After the contest on Saturday several teams stayed on to participate in a unique contest on Sunday. SaveMart was providing each team with a whole chicken and a Tri-tip to cook and present in any way they wanted. Ray Lampe (Dr BBQ) was kind enough to put together and head up the judging. Cash and trophy to the winners and an overall winner would be named.

Saturday evening was a lot of fun as the teams gathered together for pizza provided by Giovanni's Pizza in Clovis. It was kind of cool. We had tables and chairs lined up down the middle of the street. Everyone sat around for hours talking bbq and solving the world's problems. This was a special time staying over and visiting and recapping the contest.

Sunday also had another charitable event with the Boys and Girls Club of Clovis. They raffled off a $1500.00 Kitchen Aid mobile kitchen and grill and had a kid's contest that was very successful. I was honored to be asked to judge for these kids who did a great job and had a lot of fun with it. I was surprised at the high quality on entrees that these kids submitted, it was really good!

In the Sunday contest for the teams we did really well. We took second place in the Tri-Tip and 2nd in chicken. Normally that would earn us the overall championship, but not this time. Pam Gram of Pit Stop really demonstrated her culinary skills and bbq talents on this day with a 1st place in chicken and tri-tip. I was so proud of her. Pete and Pam have both been champions in my book all along. 3 first places in one weekend. Wow!

It was really fun to compete in a hometown contest. We hope to do better next year. I really want that cool trophy.