As the defending champions, Pellet Envy battled more than the 64 teams looking to leave their mark on Jefferson City, Missouri this past weekend. Oh yeah, with the other 63 teams at this event, we battled the elements as well. Strong north winds, sleet, snow, and cold temperatures greeted the contestants at the Capital City Cookoff. My first image of this year's event was that of a red truck pulling an older camping trailer buried to it's axles in the mud. My next image was of Bruce Ring, the contest organizer, smiling, greeting me, an escorting me to my contest site.
Despite being dealt really bad weather hands both years of this event, Bruce and the other volunteers push through to organize and orchestrate a really great event, a smile on their collective faces the entire time. This event reflects that Bruce had the cooks in mind when he created this contest. With great power, free ice, water delivered to your contest site, and a breakfast for the cooks among other things, the Capital City Cookoff has quickly become a great contest. Heck, Bruce even offers free towing for contestants in need, a service that has become very valuable over the past two years. They sold over 1,500 tickets for their Peoples Choice rib event. Friday night we dropped in to check it out. The building was completely packed with people and there was a bbq buzz in the air. Despite the weather, all 1,500 people had obviously made the trek to crown the winner. Forty-eight teams enthusiastically distributed their best rib efforts for the crowd.
Congrats to Mark Greico of Four Men and a Pig on his third win in a row. Congrats to Harlyn Janssen of Dry to da Bone, student of the Pellet Envy cooking class, on his Reserve Grand Champion. I know it had to be hard for Harlen to see that he missed the Grand Champion by only .0003, but it was still a great accomplishment in that field of contestants. Also, congrats to everyone who heard their name called in Jefferson City and everywhere else this past weekend.
As for our finish, let's just say it left something to be desired. Despite a 6th place pork call, the judges just didn't enjoy our entries and much as I had hoped this weekend. A big thanks to Mike Hill, a good friend from Columbia, MO, who came over to cook with me in Sheri's absence. Mike did his best to keep me on track this weekend, but it just wasn't in the cards. The weekend wasn't a disappointment though. We enjoyed good friends and a good laugh. What else could you ask for, right? As for our finish, oh well, there's always next weekend. See you all in Wildcat country on Friday!