Monday, February 16, 2009

How about a little wager just to make things more interesting?

In Great Bend, Kansas this past weekend at the 2nd annual WinterQ, the contest organizer threw in an interesting twist. At the suggestion of Donnie Teel from Buffalo BBQ, Kent Romine decided to host a Calcutta auction of the teams. The idea was to raise money for charity and provide an added level of interest for the cooks.

Kent explained it a month or so back and it sounded mildly interesting. I'd only really heard of it around rodeos and golf tournaments, but figured it could be successfully applied to anything competitive. However, I was unsure how well it would work at a barbecue contest, mostly because we cooks are just too damn cheap. True to form, the auction started off a bit awkward and tense, with most of us keeping our heads down, devoting our concentration to not to make eye contact with the auctioneer or his ring men. Donnie wasn’t cooking the event. He’s pitless, waiting on the most recent Jamie Geer creation to roll out of paint, so he drove up to table captain and hang. Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, Donnie was in shorts and a t-shirt all weekend. If you read my earlier post on the event, you know it was colder than a well digger’s ass in Great Bend this past weekend. That Okie may not be the brightest bulb in the string even if he can cook. Anyway, not wanting this deal to be a flop, Donnie bought up several teams. In all, he bought four or five teams including Pellet Envy. Folks not competing bought teams, teams bought themselves and others looked for deals on teams going cheap that might get them in the money. Feeling the peer pressure to do my part, I jumped in to buy Moe Cason of Ponderosa BBQ. Big Moe was on fire last year. He cooked over 25 events, all by himself, and really had an outstanding year. However, Moe didn’t cook much in Kansas or Oklahoma and the group just didn’t know him. So, I got a bargain basement price on the overall clad big fellow and was quite happy with my buy. That’s him above, getting in a power nap just before springing to life to cook like he’d never cooked before!
The payout was based on teams finishing in the top three of any of the four categories. Of the total purse, charity received the first twenty percent. After that, the money was divided by four. From there, the payout was fifty percent of the category money for first place, thirty percent for second and twenty percent for third. The total auction proceeds were $2,275. Honestly, that’s way more than I thought it would be.

Now I can’t speak for the rest of the teams, but I will say that the Calcutta added a little pressure to my cook. Intended or not, Donnie’s purchase made me want to do my best, leaving it all in the hands of the judges that day. In the end, Mr. Teel left with more than he brought. I didn’t contribute the way I would have liked, but some days it just works that way. If I had to do it over, I’d get more involved with the Calcutta. It was interesting and added a twist to the competition. But I’m telling you right now, the first team I’m buying is Pellet Envy. That way, the pressure is off and screwing up a cook affects nobody but me.

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