Well, a so called friend called me on the carpet today for not updating my blog in almost a month. I can't blame him. I read several blogs and I lose interest when the blogger has long gaps between posts. Since this friend is a fellow competitor, I mistakenly thought he'd cut me a little slack. I mean, he admitted that he was a little tired by the end of the season, as was I. Honestly, the 2008 competition season probably was the hardest and took more out of me than any previous year. On top of competing in thirty-one events, we hosted four classes and were booked for some sort of barbecue related event every weekend we weren't cooking or teaching between March and November. Then add our desire to make sure our sponsors were completely and totally satisfied with our efforts, and you have one long competition season this year.
Please don't misunderstand me though. Honestly, I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm thankful. Honestly, I'm thankful for many things. "Like what?" you ask. Well, like the friendships and relationships that have come from teaching and competing. When I dive into a "hobby," I usually dive into the deep end. I can tell you that in no other hobby have we met so many great people and developed so many great friendships. Most of my best friend are now people we've met over the years in barbecue. I'm thankful for the sponsorship opportunities in 2008. We could not have done the things we did this year without the help of Cookshack, BBQr's Delight and especially Greased Lightning. I'm thankful for all of the folks that attended our classes this year. We meet so many great people that we otherwise may not have met because of the Old School versus High Tech cooking classes. A lot of great memories have come from these events. Many of the students stay in touch, sharing their successes with us. I am so proud when somebody from the class calls or e-mails to share their accomplishments. It makes our teaching endeavors all worth while. Most of all, I am grateful for the support of family. I'm sure my wife and family thought I'd kept my head in the pit a little too long when I decided to go full time in barbecue. Even though they may have thought that, they never said a word to me. They just supported me, especially my wife Sheri. For that, I am thankful and I wouldn't be where I am at now without them.
2008 was a great year. We had some luck, we found a group of sponsors that fit our style, and we traveled to many new places. I hope everyone looks back on their year and finds things for which they are thankful. Sometimes it's hard to do, especially considering how caught up we get in day to day things and the economy and such. But if you take a minute to reflect on this past year, there are so many things for which we should all be thankful.
The new season is just around the corner. While you all think I've been taking it easy, instead we've been working out our 2009 Old School versus High Tech schedule. With dates in Great Bend, Kansas, Austin, Texas, Shannon, Illinois and Danville, Virginia, we're looking to finalize the '09 schedule with a couple more classes, potentially in Ohio and Utah.
Happy Holidays everyone! Thank you for reading my ramblings. With the rest of December and all of January off from competition, I may try my had at a few KC barbecue restaurant reviews. I've always envied by friends at Ulika BBQ for their blog and this down time might give me a chance to see if I'm up to something like what Rob, BP and the Mrs. are doing over there. I don't expect to do the job as well as they do, but it gives me something to shoot for. I hope every one enjoys this holiday season!