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View Full Version : Taste of Grand Rapids BBQ - July 14-15


Jeff_in_KC
07-05-2006, 10:16 PM
Awhile back, this contest topic came up and a couple of you mentioned you'd also be there. Woody? Curt? Can't recall. Anyway, who else is planning on cooking it? We'll be arriving close to the noon time sign in (weird they don't let you before then!).

cmcadams
07-06-2006, 12:10 AM
Sorry.. I haven't been on this week. I'll be there, with, hopefully, our new smoker... Tony Hunter is joining us, too.

We're showing up the night before, and will be there at noon... I thought that was odd, too, but I hear no electricity and no running water.

Jeff_in_KC
07-06-2006, 09:22 AM
Yeah, primitive camp mod! Oh well... we can survive one day I guess. We've got an power inverter and I'm buying a new deep cycle marine battery for power for a strand of rope lights, our electric knife and the radio. We'll be spending the night an hour and a half away at the in-laws on Thursday night. Look forward to meeting ya! Neil is planning to drive up from St. Joseph in Friday so we'll have a small MichiBash for a few hours!

Curt, we'll try to look you up when we get there and see if there's a space close by your's if you beat us in! We plan on being there close to 11am to wait in line if need be. We also have another team we know, VooDoo BBQ Illinois who was our neighbor at the Royal last year, that is going to be there and want to hook us near us if possible.

cmcadams
07-06-2006, 10:34 AM
We're getting a generator for the event, I think. I'll watch for you Friday morning, and ask to get nearby. We got some of those neck thingies to stay cool... I hope it's bearable and not raining!

Jeff_in_KC
07-06-2006, 10:56 AM
We're getting a generator for the event, I think. I'll watch for you Friday morning, and ask to get nearby. We got some of those neck thingies to stay cool... I hope it's bearable and not raining!

Hope you saw the rules page... they only allow "quiet generators" and they claim they don't tolerate any noise from them. I THINK it was under the "Grounds for Disqualification" section but I don't recall. Just wanted to be sure you were aware of that before you brought just any generator and had nothing else if they crack down. They seem pretty tough: no alcohol, quiet generators, only radio stations played on the sponsoring stations' frequencies (BS!)... etc.

cmcadams
07-06-2006, 10:59 AM
I think my teammate is checking on the type of generator... If we don't have it, we're not out anything. I think the radio station thing is ridiculous... We pay money to get in... the radio stations don't pay it for me.

The Woodman
07-06-2006, 07:05 PM
This cook is in a big park. Last year they had us on a softball field . The lights were on all night so power wasn't really an issue. They have a big food festival with local restaraunts selling wares. I can't make it because of a catering gig this time, but it was a great time last year! 61 teams! Good luck guys! Woody

Doorbusters
07-06-2006, 09:25 PM
Jeff, I have a 400 watt inverter and a 12 volt power pack if you need it. It will run lights for 2-3 days, TV and a radio. If you need them let me know.

Neil
07-07-2006, 09:47 AM
Where in GR is this thing being held?

Bill-Chicago
07-07-2006, 09:52 AM
Where in GR is this thing being held?

Nice try Neil.

Like you don't listen to B-93 FM!

http://www.b93.com/pages/grr_taste_over.html

Jeff_in_KC
07-07-2006, 02:36 PM
John Ball Park on the city's west side.

bbqbull
07-07-2006, 10:33 PM
Smoke Eaters bbq team will be their.....I drive a cab and 1/2 red over silver Ford p/u pulling a tandem axle 30"x8' Klose Mobile Pit w/upright. I would welcome any brethern folks to be next to us...Gate opens at noon Friday. I have a little 1000 watt generator....runs 1 fan and 1 little florescent lite.. Interesting how the 2nd man in charge has a big/noisy generator. He gets to park a bit away from the rest of us...... Love to see ya all. Dont forget your fire extinguishers.....a requirement.
Mike

Jeff_in_KC
07-08-2006, 01:47 AM
I'm glad they limit generators to quiet ones. I just got home from visiting Wayne and Andy at the Warrensburg contest and damn! Generator noise is everywhere!

Mike, look us up! You can't miss the logo and the Spicewine cooker! Plus we're one of only two Missouri teams in it.

bbqbull
07-08-2006, 09:36 AM
Jeff and Curt, I will try and look up both of you guys.
Mike

cmcadams
07-09-2006, 01:38 PM
Doorbusters, if you can get that thing to Jeff, and don't mind me using it if he doesn't need it, there's one thing I realized I MUST have power for... My CPAP machine, if I'm going to get any sleep at all! I don't have a battery set up for it, and I can't really sleep without it.

A good note.. our new smoker, rough, but workable, is on it's way to my house to fire up. We're going to do the old biscuit test on it and do some ribs and chicken today, then keep it cooking all week. It won't be painted, but it looks like it will be going to Grand Rapids!

Jeff_in_KC
07-09-2006, 01:56 PM
Doorbusters, if you can get that thing to Jeff, and don't mind me using it if he doesn't need it, there's one thing I realized I MUST have power for... My CPAP machine, if I'm going to get any sleep at all! I don't have a battery set up for it, and I can't really sleep without it.

A good note.. our new smoker, rough, but workable, is on it's way to my house to fire up. We're going to do the old biscuit test on it and do some ribs and chicken today, then keep it cooking all week. It won't be painted, but it looks like it will be going to Grand Rapids!

How much current does that take, Curt? If we're close by, we can run a cord over to you...

Jeff_in_KC
07-09-2006, 01:58 PM
How much power does a CPAP take, Curt? Be sure to bring a good extension cord and if we're close by, you can tap it. We'll run lights over night and probably the radio on low (not on THEIR farkin' stations!) and I'm hoping to have a deep cycle marine battery as a back up.

sfisch
07-09-2006, 09:34 PM
I'm driving over Thursday evening, signed up for the bbq class at "Hermans Boy". Plan on driving home after but could drive back Friday afternoon and look you all up.

Scott

sfisch
07-11-2006, 08:35 AM
For those of you coming to Grand Rapids, saw the weather report this morning, supposed to be hot and sunny Fri and Sat. 90 degrees plus.

Scott

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 08:44 AM
Thanks... I think.

Neil
07-11-2006, 09:07 AM
Nice try Neil.

Like you don't listen to B-93 FM!

http://www.b93.com/pages/grr_taste_over.html

I only lilsten to stations that carry Bob n Tom, Laura Ingram, and Rush!

cmcadams
07-11-2006, 09:10 AM
Jeff, the CPAP doesn't take much at all; it will run on batteries, but I don't have that set up. We're just going to have a tent, and I didn't think about power until too late, thinking I could do without lights, etc.

The good news is our smoker is actually going to be there; it's being painted (black) today, and I'll have a blog entry up some time today with it, and I'll post a pic here, too. It needs some tweaks, but we were able to hold 225 steady for over 4 hours with about 1/3 of a bag of royal oak. So we've cooked on it and been pleased, and it will be firing up for the weekend!

I almost had to bow out; my dog had some issues, but he's ok. My wife won't be joining us this weekend, but it looks like we'll have 3 extra helpers and a crew of people over on Friday. We're going to have a great time!

Jeff, find out if we're signed in when you get up there, and if we're not, see if you can hold the spot next to you; I'll do the same.

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 10:51 AM
Will do, Curt! If you get there before us, be sure to get a nice shady spot! I think I'm going to try to pay for a double space. I just don't think I can operate in a 15x30 space. :roll:

cmcadams
07-11-2006, 10:55 AM
Are there any shady spots there???

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 11:10 AM
No idea. From their description of the site, they said "lots of space and shade trees". We'll see... those may be in the non-BBQ area. :roll:

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 11:54 AM
Guys, here's an update on sites at GR... I just called the organizer about getting a double sized site they mentioned in the email. He said that those requesting a double site ($125 extra) will be placed on the tennis courts in 30x30 sites. Unless you request a site of this size or you have a motorhome (they go there too), we probably won't be near your site. Not sure though. But the advantages of the tennis court sites are mainly two: no dirt or grass and the big one... guaranteed level sites! We have several interlocking foam kids play mats we use in our site when we're on hard surfaces. We just didn't see how we'd get everything in a 15x30 space (including our van). If you want one of these, I suggest you call the coordinator, John Bates, at (616) 776-5533 as soon as possible.

Curt, if you're not in our immediate area, I have a smaller inverter I can let you use during the overnight hours Friday night. Do you have a battery you can hook up to it? It has the battery terminal post clamps on it.

cmcadams
07-11-2006, 11:59 AM
Jeff,

What kind of battery does it need? I'll have one, even if I don't already! Thanks a lot for the offer!

We found out we have a Honda generator we can use that's supposedly not loud, but what does 'quiet' mean? I'm guessing a regular generator is out?

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 01:26 PM
Jeff,

What kind of battery does it need? I'll have one, even if I don't already! Thanks a lot for the offer!

We found out we have a Honda generator we can use that's supposedly not loud, but what does 'quiet' mean? I'm guessing a regular generator is out?

It just clamps onto any regular car or marine battery, Curt.

Quiet on the generators seems to be a questionable issue. According to the email, the rule is "If I (the contest organizer) get complaints about a generator, it's too loud." They're claiming there will be no leniency. Pretty strict place if you ask me... quiet generators, no alcohol, not allowed to be outside your assigned area at all, early quiet hours (calling it curfew... what, you can't be at another team's site visiting after 10pm???) and extending til 8am and you're supposed to only listen to one or the other of the two sponsoring radio stations when you play your own radio! Damn I hate that I tend to be a rebel! :lol: But my wife, being the calmer head that will prevail, said to go up there, shut up and just cook their contest and do what I normally do when we get home. Women! :roll: I guess that means no Guns n Roses at turn in time. I'm gonna miss "Welcome to the Jungle" cranked at about 11:50 am...

cmcadams
07-11-2006, 01:54 PM
Getting a car battery is very easy... I'll stop at wally world on the way home!

bbqbull
07-11-2006, 02:14 PM
Jeff, a few years ago took my pit to G.Rapids contest. It was for my buddy not me. I had bought a little 1000 watt generator at Tractor Supply Co. It purrs like a kitten. I ran a fan, a small 110 volt floursent lite and a radio. At kerfew time had no complaints from anybody. Gonna try the same Friday nite. Ive seen several little Honda generators their and nobody complained about them either. Beer.....Just keep it in a coffee mug. Keep your stash outta site. Drink responsibly. Never seen any problems w/that either.
Just my 2 cents.
Mike

cmcadams
07-11-2006, 02:24 PM
You know, the beer thing is something I can't do. Now I was in a fraternity, and we went through more beer than was good for us... but when I'm hot and sweaty, I want powerade or water, and that's about it.

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 02:55 PM
Jeff, a few years ago took my pit to G.Rapids contest. It was for my buddy not me. I had bought a little 1000 watt generator at Tractor Supply Co. It purrs like a kitten. I ran a fan, a small 110 volt floursent lite and a radio. At kerfew time had no complaints from anybody. Gonna try the same Friday nite. Ive seen several little Honda generators their and nobody complained about them either. Beer.....Just keep it in a coffee mug. Keep your stash outta site. Drink responsibly. Never seen any problems w/that either.
Just my 2 cents.
Mike

They told me earlier this season that when they cleaned up after the contest that there were tons of beer cans in the trash... said they wouldn't go looking for it. I figure I'm good with my little pint bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon and a six pack of 7Up!

By the way... just heard that Bar-B-Quau will be at Grand Rapids... the competition just heated up a LOT.

cmcadams
07-11-2006, 04:54 PM
I wish they had a website with teams listed, etc.... seems they are just doing the bare minimum in a lot of ways.

I'm just there to see how we can do, but mostly to have a great time and try to not sweat myself to death!

Jeff_in_KC
07-11-2006, 10:12 PM
We knew going to Cameron that we were facing an uphill battle as far as scoring high with the level of competition here. We put on our game faces but relaxed and I remember coming back to camp with water and while i was filling the container watching all the activity around me, it hit me... "It's just farkin' BBQ'. It isn't rocket science and no one is saving the world! I walked over to camp and just blurted out to my wife... "It's just BBQ. Let's just do our thing." From then on, we had the game face working but we were much more relaxed and confident. It worked! We're gonna try the same at Grand Rapids!

sfisch
07-12-2006, 07:49 AM
Excellent advice Jeff, wishing you all the best of luck. I'm going to make the trip over on Saturday and look all of you up.
This mornings weather forcast says 93 degrees and sunny now for Saturday.
You guys got any of those "misters" like down at the Tiki bars?

Scott

Neil
07-12-2006, 09:08 AM
Jeff, Marci and I will be heading up Friday night after work to check things out. Do you know your location yet?

Jeff_in_KC
07-12-2006, 09:13 AM
Neil, all I know is that because we bought a double sized site, I was told we would be on the tennis courts. Other than that, I have no idea. I was thinking of searching online to see if I can find out any further info on John Ball Park. Did you see directions anywhere? If not, I'll post them soon.

cmcadams
07-12-2006, 09:22 AM
I need to get the actual addres... I have that VZ Navigator on my phone, and so far it works really great.

I looked into the misters, and, without running water, decided to go with the neckband things this time. I'll be getting misters for next year, though (and maybe September if we do a comp then).

Jeff_in_KC
07-12-2006, 10:59 AM
I looked for an address, Curt and found nothing. Careful if you do though. There's a John Ball Zoo and I don't know if it's the same place or not. If it is, at least there will be an endless supply of meat to Q! :lol:

cmcadams
07-12-2006, 11:17 AM
The new smoker has some size... but elephant is still too big for it!

bbqbull
07-12-2006, 02:59 PM
Kurt, call Rich Berry, He is the orginizer of said contest.
1-616-459-1919. He may know or can get the exact address of the zoo.
Heck Im from Michigan, and never been their either.
Mike

cmcadams
07-12-2006, 03:07 PM
thanks... and good idea... what a concept... call and ask!

BTW... address is 1300 W. Fulton, GR, MI.

Jeff_in_KC
07-12-2006, 05:21 PM
Here's those directions:

If you are traveling to Grand Rapids from the Lansing area (East):


Take I-96 West to I-196 Downtown. Get off at Exit 76 (Lane Avenue). Turn left onto Lane, then turn right at the second traffic light. This will be Fulton Street. The next traffic light will be at Valley Avenue. John Ball Park will be on your left side, on the corner of Valley and Fulton.


If you are traveling to Grand Rapids from the Muskegon area (West):


Take I-96 East to US-131 South. Follow US-131 South to I-196 heading toward Holland. From I-196, get off at Exit 76, Lane Avenue. Turn left onto Lane, then turn right at the second traffic light. This will be Fulton Street. The next traffic light will be at Valley Avenue. John Ball Park will be on your left side, on the corner of Valley and Fulton.


If you are traveling to Grand Rapids from the Kalamazoo area (South):



Take US-131 North to Exit 85B, Pearl Street/Downtown. Turn left onto Pearl Street – which will change its name to Lake Michigan Drive. Follow Lake Michigan Drive to Lane Avenue. Turn left onto Lane Avenue, then turn right at the first traffic light. This will be Fulton Street. The next traffic light will be at Valley Avenue. John Ball Park will be on your left side, on the corner of Valley and Fulton.


If you are traveling to Grand Rapids from the Holland area (West):


Take I-196 East to Exit 75, Lake Michigan Drive. Turn right onto Lake Michigan Drive. Follow Lake Michigan Drive and curve to your right. John Ball Park will be on your right side.

Neil
07-13-2006, 08:15 AM
It's near the zoo

cmcadams
07-13-2006, 09:02 AM
We loaded up all non-food items last night... I'm not excited about the weather, but I'm excited about getting up there. We're going from driving in with an old landscape trailer loaded with breaking-down chargrillers to a trailered, painted rig and a box trailer with a side door. I want to continue on the box trailer to maybe even add a kitchen and a/c!

Jeff_in_KC
07-13-2006, 12:14 PM
Brothers, I'm outta here... leaving for Michigan in about 45 minutes. We hope to roll into the in-laws house by 11pm tonight latest, get a few hours sleep and head on north in the early morning. See you guys at Grand Rapids tomorrow! Have a safe trip and let's let 'em know the Brethren were there! (in a good way)

cmcadams
07-13-2006, 12:59 PM
We'll be there by 1:00 am, I'm hoping.

bbqbull
07-13-2006, 08:39 PM
I hope to be their about the time they open the gates at 9:00 am. See ya there
Bull

sfisch
07-15-2006, 02:57 PM
I got over there a little early Friday, about noon and everyone was setting up. I got a chance to meet Jeff and his wife who was working very hard, his wife I mean. Very nice people. Looked for Curt but didn't see a banner. Didn't want to bother anyone since they were pretty busy. Its a drag I couldnt be there today to help taste test the food! Oh well.
Hope you all score good.
Scott

Jeff_in_KC
07-15-2006, 10:57 PM
We're back... at least back to the in-laws in Michigan. We're exhausted and got to meet some Brothers I hadn't met previously (Mike, Curt and Scott). Brother Neil and his wife Marcie came up and had dinner with us. Got to know Mike and Beth from Bar-B-Quau who were next to us. I learned a few things about competing from a 2005 top ten KCBS team of the year (the education continues!).

This contest was a little different for us. Not the level of service to the teams that we're used to im Missouri and Kansas where organizers are competing for the teams to attend. Wasn't bad but we didn't have water and ice service to the degree we usually do. No showers and the restroom had no paper towels and rarely toilet paper. The lack of electricity was a challenge for us.

Anyway, we got 4th place in beans, 5th place in sausage (jap and cheese stuffed fatty scored!), 8th place in ribs and 3rd place in pork (used the same turn-in layout in the box that got us 2nd in pork at Cameron). Overall, out of 56 teams, Big Creek finished 10th. We thought we could pull a top five finish but learned the hard way that if BBQ isn't sauced heavily in Michigan, it won't score well. There were MAYBE 5 to 10 CBJ's from what I was told. We only saw one. Most judges were local celebrities.

Props and congrats to Curt and Bucky McOinkums BBQ! They finished 5th in brisket (their first walk to the stage ever!!!) and I think 14th overall. We were proud to get to see another Brethren take their first walk!

An interesting note... in a stretch of six cook spaces including our's, we had the GC, RGC, 10th, 6th and 7th overall.

Grand - CancerSucksChicago.com
Reserve - Bar-B-Quau

I'm sure full results will be posted soon. I'm just too tired! I have showered, had a two hour nap and now I'm up sipping a Woodford Reserve Bourbon and visiting with the in-laws. Gonna hit the sack again real soon!

Great to meet new Brothers and see old ones again!

Neil
07-16-2006, 06:48 AM
Congratulations Jeff & Tammy and to Curt. The wifey and I drove up to G.R. friday night after work and we got our first glimpse of a real competition. It was good to see Jeff again and nice to meet his wife, Curt (cmcadams), and Mike (bbqbull). Jeff and Tammy fed us some very good spareribs and outstanding beans. The pulled pork was pretty good too. Wish we could have stayed and helped out on saturday but too many projects at home needed to be started and finished. We are definately going to have to take a serious look at having our comp cherry busted next year at this event.

The_Kapn
07-16-2006, 12:27 PM
Congrats to the Brethren teams.

Bet it was a hot one :lol:

TIM

fnnm358
07-16-2006, 01:23 PM
CONGRATS to Curts team for there finish and a special thanks for letting me help them and get familiar with doing a comp.
I couldnt stay for the awards due to family but Curt and all the brethren were great I am very glad to be a part of this board and to now know some of you, I am looking forward to this all again in the future maybe with my own team. Again thanks to all.

bbqbull
07-16-2006, 01:55 PM
Brethern Brothers.... Im almost awake here now. I had a blast at this contest. Unbenoance to me I was right next door to Curt and his team for over 12 hours before I knew who the heck he was............ I was introduced to him by Jeff in KC. I found him and his booth due to his Brethern Flag. I got to meet Neil and his wife. I also met Fnnm 358 too. Another Brethern memeber whose also a retired firefighter/emt same as me. Im sorry that Im so terrible w/me remembering names. Think they call it CRS Disease. Im in the advanced stages now. It was great to meet some new Q brothers/sisters as well. We didnt score in the top ten when it all shook down but thats ok, we had a great time. The heat and humidity was extreemly oppressive but we managed thanks to little generators and fans. Wet towels around our necks helped a lot also. Im thinkin maybe Ill try another contest or two in the future. Just because I had a really great time. Oh I gotta get me one of them Brethern Banners for our little tent too.
Great to meet faces that ive only chatted with on this forum..
Mike

sfisch
07-16-2006, 03:48 PM
Man, now I'm really bummin that I didn't get to meet you guys. Sounds like you had a blast without me.
Scott

voodoobbqIL
07-16-2006, 04:53 PM
Hey Jeff, Congrats on the 3rd in Ribs...

Keep it up see you soon!

cmcadams
07-16-2006, 05:00 PM
We had a GREAT time in Grand Rapids, and the heat was high, but not as bad as I expected. Mike, sorry you didn't get to stay, but I hope you got some good rest. And we owe you a HUGE thanks for helping us out with the generator, and everything else. We enjoyed the wee hours of the morning talking with you.

And Jeff did really well, with lots of calls.

Our first top half performance (our 4th comp), and we got 14th out of 57... REALLY thrilled, and the 5th in brisket felt INCREDIBLE!!!

Scott, my teammate forgot our banner in his garage, which I made fun of all weekend... His new name is 'Banner Boy'... But we were right next to Mike, and you could see us right in right field from Jeff's site.

bbqbull
07-16-2006, 05:58 PM
Curt, Yes I made it home ok. Danged near ditched the rig w/in 20 miles of home a couple of times. Im sorry but Im not capable of handling no sleep for almost 60 hours of life, surviving on one hour of sleep. Jeesh, guess AARP is whoopin me hard.....Usta be able to go 96 hours straight.......Then lay down and dissapear outta life for about a day of ..............well ya know....sleep and sleep..... It was great to have you as next door neighbors....Telll Bannerboy I said hey......How do I obtain one of them way cool Brethern Banners???? Phil directly? I apologize in advance for the substanderd ammenties at this said contest. First time Ive ever seen a porta pottie level full w/human waste as high as the seat. Hope to never participate in a contest where they love to take your money, then they leave you a gift as that....WTF that just aint right. If I was in charge that surely wouldnt never happened. Im glad your home safe and sound.
Mike

Jeff_in_KC
07-16-2006, 09:50 PM
Ford from Great Lakes BBQ and Feed Co. comp team has suggested drafting a scoring system for competition teams to score contests similar to the way judges score us. I think it's a cool idea. At the very least, it would help people decide whether or not to attend a certain contest they'd never done before. As good as DeSoto, Cameron and the GAB were, Grand Rapids and the Royal are probably two of the worst as far as service to the teams. I agree with Mike... those port a pots were farking SICKENING!

Oh and guys, I SERIOUSLY apologize for not making it over to say goodbye before we rolled out. We got busy with the last clean ups and were all about getting the fark outta Dodge and getting to the in-laws for a shower, meal, pool and BED!!!

cmcadams
07-17-2006, 07:13 AM
I was tempted to just use the tree line a few times... but I hear in MI, you can be listed as a sex offender for that (really)!

Jeff, I know exactly what you mean... that sun was hot... we'd packed up everything but not loaded before awards (which they changed from 4:00 to 3:45 but didn't do until 4:00... still don't get why the change). After sitting in the sun for the awards, it was tough to get the energy to load up!

HoDeDo
07-17-2006, 09:14 AM
Congrats on the calls brothers! Jeff, Did you feel naked after you paired down your contest boxes to travel "light"? Did you end up having anything you felt was missing - or are you going to stay with the lighter load?

Smoker
07-17-2006, 01:22 PM
It is interesting to hear the comments from teams about how the event treated the teams. I think this issue is about to ruin some events. Showers? Now thats something I have not seen here in the North East. I love the idea of a standard judging form for the teams to fill out to be given back to the promoters. This should become a STANDARD at ALL KCBS events and the marks should be posted on the KCBS forum. Fool me once, shame on you Fool me twice, shame on me.

SinginBob
07-17-2006, 04:35 PM
Jeff, congrats on the calls! Are toilet paper and showers really that important?!!

voodoobbqIL
07-17-2006, 05:23 PM
I agree on the treatment of the teams, the electricity thing turned out to be not as much of a problem for us but we brought a gennie jsut in case. We were setup on a ball field and if they had stated in the packet that the lights on the field would run all night I would not have worried about the electricity as much. There were several other issues including the lack of "relief facilties". I do events for a living and nothing gets folks more upset than no place to take care of business...and even worse not being serviced. Anyway it was a brutal hot weekend and I am thrilled for the Brethren that made it into some awards.

Fresh water and potties for all!!!

Jeff_in_KC
07-20-2006, 12:13 AM
My email to Rich Berry at Grand Rapids:

Rich,

Jeff Stith from Missouri (Big Creek BBQ) here. I wanted to drop you a note to relate my unfortunate experiences with the TOGR contest this past weekend. I know from the BBQForum.com and the BBQ-Brethren.com Web sites where I participate that you are probably hearing a lot of comments. I hope what I'm going to relate below will be seen as constructive criticism to help improve your contest in future years as I believe it is vitally important to the BBQ community in the Great Lakes region.

First off, what I liked... I loved the venue itself, especially around the large shade trees where we were located. I enjoyed some of the ancillary turn-ins. We competed and did very well in both beans (4th) and sausage (5th). Early quiet hours seemed to be fairly well enforced (or at least respected by the teams I was around). I'm sorry to say, that's about it on the positive side for me. I am going to list the negative side with a few comments...

1. Absolutely HORRIBLE restroom facilities! Not nearly enough and none down on the competitors end. All were up by the TOGR vendor end. By the later evening on Friday, some of these port-a-pots were completely full! One guy told me he was in one where the waste was literally inches from the top! My wife grabbed the only roll of toilet paper in one and it was completely soaked with urine. The permanent restroom building has, as you know, one sit down commode and two urinals. Very little toilet paper was available and the floors were flooded all weekend. There is only one sink and there were NO paper towels there all weekend.

2. Electricity - you need to make it available to everyone. One of the biggest complaints I heard was that vendors had it but not the teams. Are they more important than us? If so, maybe the event should not include a BBQ contest. It would not be a hugely expensive deal to even rent one of those large mobile generators and run cables and boxes around the comp area. The Great American BBQ here in KC did it for over 200 teams on Memorial Day weekend. I'd think any contest could do it for 50 teams.

3. Water and Ice - Water was WAY up by the vendors also. Then some cooks were read the riot act for driving up to get water. I can appreciate the need for safety once the event opens to the public but consider the distance we had to carry HEAVY containers of water! Then when the water buffalo finally showed up on the ballfield, it ran out of water way too quickly. Not good! Many contests in the Missouri/Kansas area where I regularly compete drive around with water to deliver to your site. As far as ice goes, same deal... way too far away and the kid who was selling it copped an attitude with me on Friday afternoon. Told me it was "too warm in the trailer to open the door" to get me ice I needed. I got a little testy over that. I carted $300 worth of meat up from Kansas City and it needed ice! I told him I was going in to get it if he wouldn't. He then decided he'd go get it.

4. Food amenities - Many contests I attend offer something in the morning on Saturday, even if it's free coffee. some offer free biscuits and gravy or donuts. Some make you pay a small fee but at least they're available. without power at our site (or at least adequate power (we had a battery and an inverter), we were unable to use our coffee maker and had to go without except for one cup we bummed off a neighbor who had a generator.

5. Lack of service - It started when we arrived. No one was there to help us get to our space and get settled in. We wandered around for probably 20 minutes before we found anyone. Then only once did I see anyone come by all weekend to see if we needed anything. Twice, we were offered ice and never on Saturday. Our trash built up a long time before anyone arrived to take it away. And until Saturday afternoon, there was no ash disposal can anywhere near us. I never did see a grease can and thus had to take mine with me! I just didn't feel welcome at all... and it didn't help when about the only time anyone came around on the golf cart, it was John basically ordering me to move my van so he could get through better. Then did he come around to actually use the area I vacated? Not that I recall.

6. Awards and Awards Ceremony - It was moved twice, once back, then up again and by the time it actually got started, it was at the original time they had told us. Not good! Too many folks were anxious to get out of there to go home and take cool showers and get some sleep. The ribbons were good... IF you got one between 1st and 5th. I did get a 3rd in pork but my 8th in ribs only says "Honorable Mention". Try to explain THAT to someone looking over your awards ("SURE you got 8th place in ribs.") If you're awarding up to ten places, you should put the place it got on the ribbon. Drop the "Honorable Mention" stuff. It's meaningless! I was aware of the lower payouts beforehand so I really can't complain but to give you some of MY perspective, two weeks before Grand rapids at the Crossroads BBQ Cook-Off at Cameron, Missouri, we won first place in brisket ($400) and 2nd place in pork ($300) for a total of $700. Grand paid $1500 and reserve paid $750. That contest was in a town of about 6,000 people in the middle of nowhere, had only 3 or 4 sponsors (and one was a pest control place who's contribution was spraying the contest area beforehand to kill off all the bugs). There was only 45 teams competing and entry was just $150 each with free electricity. They are also just a second year contest. Next year, with payouts going up even further, I have no doubt they'll push 60 teams. Why? well besides the great service they had, the payout was awesome for a smaller contest! Taste of Grand Rapids had what seemed to be 8 to 10 sponsors and my 3rd place pork got me $75. With only having payouts to three teams per category, I would expect much higher awards than Cameron, Missouri.

I know it probably seems like I'm complaining a lot but my hope is that you and your staff can use some comments you're receiving from myself and others to improve the event for 2007. I know nothing of the event but I'm considering Racine, WI next year instead for a north trip as I just found out their payouts for a 25 team event are incredible. It will depend upon how you all make changes for the TOGR before the next one rolls around. If I can be of any assistance in helping improve your important event or if you have any questions for me, please feel free to let me know. I can be reached at this email or by phone.

Kindest Regards,

Jeff Stith
Big Creek BBQ
Pleasant Hill, Missouri

bbqbull
07-20-2006, 10:53 AM
Jeff, What an extreemly well written email. If I find Rich Berrys snail mail address I will send him a copy of what I sent to KCBS, regarding some problems at TOGR.

Mike

fnnm358
07-21-2006, 06:00 AM
Way to go Jeff that is right to the point.
might just have to go to it again next year just to see if it did any good.
Maybe make this my first comp.

voodoobbqIL
07-21-2006, 03:47 PM
Jeff, good calls all the way around. All of those were bad points and what really got me is that John is a competitor and been in the mix for about 18 years...the Golden Rule Applies even in BBQ.

K

Jeff_in_KC
07-21-2006, 10:46 PM
Apparently I really hacked off Rich with my email. Hated to see it because it was not intended to in the slightest. He said the kid who copped the attitude with me on the ice was his son and he was doing what he was told to do. He closed by saying that he's sorry all I could find positive was the shade trees.

As for the port-a-pots, apparently he used a new company for that service and they failed to uphold their end of the cleaning/maintenance agreement and this we had overflowing pots. Rich said he had already addressed the situation with that company by the time I wrote.

He said he'll take all my comments seriously. I think this email just made it a lock I won't be going back to Grand Rapids. I can only assume the kind of reception I'd receive if I signed up again. But hey, if it makes things better for everyone else, it's a total win situation.

cmcadams
07-21-2006, 10:55 PM
That's too bad he had to take it personally. You didn't say anything bad there, and they should understand the money that the competitors put into it. I emailed him earlier in the week and have heard nothing from him at all.

Hopefully, things will get better by then... it would be good to have you there again (assuming I go back... which is still possible, due to my teammate having family there). I may just try for Dundee the weekend before, though; it's 2 hours less travel for us, but on a parking lot, I think.

I hate to say it, but I don't know how much Rich cared one way or the other, or he would have apologized instead of defended the ice thing. The first thing should have been to make sure the teams were situated, IMO, as a lot of us traveled a lot to get there. Sorry, but simple organization and planning would have shown that the ice was in a bad spot.

Jeff_in_KC
07-22-2006, 12:52 AM
Here's Rich's reply in full:

Dear Jeff:

Wow. Sorry you had such a bad experience at our event. Let me respond to a few things first and I want you to hear my responses in the spirit that they are meant:

I am glad you like our facilities. We drew more than 16,000 people to our event to promote BBQ and food. I think that is pretty good. We are proud of our affiliation with the KCBS and our ability to promote the sport of barbecue. With two of West MIchigan's best radio stations promoting this event, I believe that the BBQ community is pleased to have us on board with them.

1. Regarding restroom facilities: That will change next year. I went with a new company this year and they did not comply with the agreement for cleaning. I have dealt with that situation already. The permanent restrooms at John Ball Park, I am told, will be replaced with new, bigger facilities by next year by the Kent County Parks Services. That should help alot. Health laws in Michigan (and I am sure everywhere) require that restrooms be a minimum of 50 feet from food. That means that we have to place restrooms on the outskirts of where you are. With the heat the way it was, I decided that we needed the bathrooms at least 100 feet away. The Kent County Health Department agreed with that decision. The last thing anyone wants is a smelly bathroom right in the middle of everything.

2. Electricity: We estimate that we would need approximately 4 quiet generators and numerous spider boxes to provide electricity to everyone. In order to do that we would have to double the entry price for each team. We don't want to do that.

3. Ice: Due to the heat it was impossible to keep the refrigerator truck cold with people coming in and out with no order. The kid who "copped an attitude" with you was my son Kevin. He was told to leave the truck closed when the thermostat reached high levels. I apologize if he came off as disrespectful but he did what he was told to do... manage the temperature of the truck. Those were his marching orders, from me. I will look into having an ice truck closer to the BBQ site next year.

4. Coffee and Food: We have had coffee available in the past but it was not utilized. Many teams come well prepared with their specific needs. Until now I have never had complaints from participants. We'll look into it.

5. Lack of Service: This one is a stumper to me. You don't tell me when you arrived but assuming you followed our directions and came to the park properly, you should have had no trouble finding someone to direct you to your area. I had 8 guys working trash non-stop all weekend long and the main thing I heard from people were compliments about the trash. I also don't know where you were situated, so it is possible that your trash was tucked in a corner where it was overlooked. With 16,000 people on site over 2 days, it is my opinion that we did an amazing job with trash. Regarding John Bates telling you to move your van, I will check into that. Assuming it was parked in the confines of your booth, there should not have been a problem. If you were expanding and that prevented him from getting to and from the site, then I can understand why he wanted the van moved.

6. Awards and Ceremony: We'll look into your recommendations about ribbons. The time of the ceremony - which was originally slated for 3 p.m. and moved to 4 p.m. - was done more than a week before the contest. The reason was because one of our national bands needed to get on earlier then we were originally told. Next year it will be at 3 p.m.

I cannot speak for Cameron Missouri and the outstanding job they do with monetary prizes, overall organization, tropies, electricity, etc. Our sponsorships are designed to attract advertisers to our radio stations. They purchased ads on the radio to be a part of this event. The folks in Cameron will tell you that putting on a contest is certainly not a money-maker.

My out of pocket expenses were $10,000 to put on that portion of the event. That includes KCBS fees, tents, trash removal, rental of the park, insurance, tropies, prize money, transportation for contest officials, hotels, etc. That doesn't count the countless number of hours that go into making this an attractive event. Nor does it count the "Taste of GR" portion which included 30 restaurants, 18 bands, sound, lights, generators, etc. In short, it costs a lot of money to put this on.

With that said I will take your suggestions seriously. We work hard to put on an outstanding event. I'm sorry you couldn't find anything more positive than the shade trees.


Rich Berry
General Sales Manager
WBCT-FM & WBFX-FM
77 Monroe Center, Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
(616) 776-5471 (Direct Line)
FAX: (616) 242-9373
richberry@clearchannel.com (richberry@clearchannel.com)

Doorbusters
07-22-2006, 01:36 AM
Farkin radio people! Should have told him the radio stations sucked too!

cmcadams
08-03-2006, 12:51 PM
I just saw the results are finally on the KCBS site...

And it's great to see my team name up there for the first time!!!

Jeff_in_KC
08-03-2006, 02:54 PM
Congrats, Curt! Yeah, I know the feeling! Every once in awhile, I still go back to the 2005 results page and click on De Soto / Kill Creek Farm to see my first: 10th in chicken!

tonto1117
04-17-2007, 10:34 AM
Was wondering with all the problems of last years event, how many of you are planning on attending this year.

This will be my first comp, if they haven't improved on any of the problem's of last year, it sounds less then appealing. Oh well it can only get better with other comps I enter in the future,just kinda rots though that my first experience will be with somthing ya'll had such a sucky time at..:roll:

cmcadams
04-17-2007, 10:50 AM
We'll probably be there. I've been told it should be better run, but mostly my teammate's wife is from there, so it's a family thing for them.

Jeff_in_KC
04-17-2007, 05:43 PM
We aren't going back. There's no point really. Our "travel contest" this year is going to be Dillon, Colorado. But I will be interested to hear from some of you guys who do go to Grand Rapids whether or not anything changed this year. Good luck! Give my regards to Rich.

bbqbull
04-17-2007, 06:17 PM
I doubt if im going back. Gonna have a heart to heart w/my teammates and get their thoughts.
FWIW I talked to a man last Saturday who competeted their last year and asked about the electricity to the motor homes. I was told that the Sponsors of the contest wanted electricity so.......they got it. When I wrote KCBS......... Then I got a phone call from the promoter responded back to me that nobody had electricity period. Funny how I saw and followed the cords from a friend of mines motor home on the tennis courts who was competing as well. When I talked to the promoter he told me that nobody had electricity.
When the promoter kisses the sponsers butts but seems to give a crap less about the competitors I have a problem w/that.
When we chatted about other things that occured at the contest like cheating by one individual I was told........He is like Lance Armstrong...just hasnt been caught yet. Thats where I get really torqued. Ive filed complaints w/KCBS. The next year they sent to reps. to investigate. Well.............Same person shows up at 7:30 am on Saturday starts his fire and still turns in his food. Not sure if KCBS reps were their to check on that issue last year or not. How can you grill a brisket and all the other meats in 3-6 hours Isnt broiling meats illegal w/KCBS rules?
Jeff I agree w/you the site was beautiful but the parking for us was bad. I was told I couldnt park my truck in the parking lot to the south. Not sure where I was supposed to park it but I left it where it was.
There needs to be some major changes to this contest.

There was quite a bit of talk about last year at our MBBQA meeting last Saturday. Heard that KCBS blasted the promoter and said if they recieved anymore complaints like last year, they wouldnt be KCBS sactioned. Glad they made their point.....and pretty sure things will be much better this year. Rant over from me.
Jeff, The paperwork I was going to fax you dissapeared here. If I ever come acrossed it, it will be on the way to you.

Mike

tonto1117
04-17-2007, 07:08 PM
Just my farkin luck that the first comp I decide to enter is Taste Of Grand Rapids. Wish I had read this thread before I sent my check in. Since we live in GR and are already commited, we'll make the best of what I hope will be a better situation. Was hoping to meet some of you at the comp. Wish me luck.

bbqbull
04-17-2007, 08:35 PM
Heck tonto............I really want to shake your hand and meet face to face. I may/could come up and visit even if I dont compete.
Awaiting some emails ect. before I make up my mind.
Talked to one of my team members a bit ago and he would like to compete again......but the known cheater has to be dealt with and other things need to be straightened out and seems everybody is afraid of him.
Jury is still out on this one right now.

Mike

tonto1117
04-17-2007, 10:16 PM
Heck tonto............I really want to shake your hand and meet face to face. I may/could come up and visit even if I dont compete.
Awaiting some emails ect. before I make up my mind.
Talked to one of my team members a bit ago and he would like to compete again......but the known cheater has to be dealt with and other things need to be straightened out and seems everybody is afraid of him.
Jury is still out on this one right now.

Mike

I say we tar and feather the said " cheater" and let him know "to hell with him!!" ( wish it was so easy ) Like I said, this is my first comp, and would like to think I just suck because I aint got it figured out yet, not that we have a cheater in our midst. Still looking to learn somthing for my $$$ and time.
I, too, look forward to meeting all Brethern there. I'm a newbie, can fly the flag?

Jeff_in_KC
04-17-2007, 10:32 PM
Mike, are you referring to par-boil Moe? If so, we just had dinner with Steph from KCBS/Slabs and she told us how she went to GR one year to run the contest for KCBS. She laid it all out on the table and the guy was clean... no cooked meats whatsoever. Let me just say this: Bubba and Jeff (both Brethren) start their fires up at around 7am for everything. They use the fast cook method for butts and briskets that is becoming the latest "thing" everyone wants to try. I have seen them cook all four categories in five hours or so. Maybe the folks in Michigan haven't been exposed to this method yet but after talking with Steph, I'm of a mind to believe he isn't cheating.

Jeff_in_KC
04-17-2007, 10:34 PM
Like I said, this is my first comp, and would like to think I just suck because I aint got it figured out yet, not that we have a cheater in our midst.

Anyone can cook BBQ at home... we've found it's all about learning how to compete that is the kicker. Cooking Q at a comp is simple. Timing and knowing what to do at what time and doing it right is key.

bbqbull
04-18-2007, 09:03 PM
Jeff, I will stop running my mouth about the cheater. Lets just say this ...in I believe it was 2001 in G. Rapids..........I was very close to the cheater.
I watched him have his meat inspected in his coolers. When the meat inspector left, oh by the way it was about 7 am on Saturday.
When the inspector split....out came the foiled disposable hotel pans that had covers on them. They went into the cooker. Musta been 50 people around his tent. He just drops his side flaps on his ez-up.
Lets not forget he has his own sauce thats sold here in our local Sams Club Stores. And he has his own Q joint as well.
I know for a fact that 2 different folks went straight to the KCBS Judges Area and filed complaints, when that happened. The complaintants were blown off or ignored. Why? Dunno possibley outta fear.
Did a gig a few years later.........This cheater had just gotten out of some kind of govt. security place for capping some folks. I was feeding some friends of his.........GO Figure...........I just said wow. My teamate was at both gigs and just shook his head as well!

If I cant play on equal and fair playing fields....I will move on. Voicing my opinion of unfare play apparently doesnt matter. Why pay good money to get shafted?

End of Story!

Mike

Jeff_in_KC
04-18-2007, 09:23 PM
Jeff, I will stop running my mouth about the cheater. Lets just say this ...in I believe it was 2001 in G. Rapids..........I was very close to the cheater.
I watched him have his meat inspected in his coolers. When the meat inspector left, oh by the way it was about 7 am on Saturday.
When the inspector split....out came the foiled disposable hotel pans that had covers on them. They went into the cooker. Musta been 50 people around his tent. He just drops his side flaps on his ez-up.
Lets not forget he has his own sauce thats sold here in our local Sams Club Stores. And he has his own Q joint as well.
I know for a fact that 2 different folks went straight to the KCBS Judges Area and filed complaints, when that happened. The complaintants were blown off or ignored. Why? Dunno possibley outta fear.
Did a gig a few years later.........This cheater had just gotten out of some kind of govt. security place for capping some folks. I was feeding some friends of his.........GO Figure...........I just said wow. My teamate was at both gigs and just shook his head as well!

If I cant play on equal and fair playing fields....I will move on. Voicing my opinion of unfare play apparently doesnt matter. Why pay good money to get shafted?

End of Story!

Mike

Mike, I'm not trying to piss ya off here, bro. I am just reporting what I was told by someone with KCBS who went through his stuff with a fine tooth comb prior to one particular contest. They were satisfied he wasn't cheating at THAT time anyway. Now if he turned around and did it some other time, that's a different story. I'm probably not the person to tell you the whole story cuz I wasn't there. And I'd had 1/2 gallon of Dos Equis Dark when I hear it! :lol:

bbqbull
04-19-2007, 08:57 AM
Wow, a 1/2 gallon? That would make lotsa folks happy.
Im not mad Jeff so its ok.

Mike

tonto1117
04-20-2007, 09:23 AM
Anyone can cook BBQ at home... we've found it's all about learning how to compete that is the kicker. Cooking Q at a comp is simple. Timing and knowing what to do at what time and doing it right is key.

I hear that, I'm having dreams about it. Gonna try to take everything in and do the best we can. Most of all I'm trying not to stress about it and just get my list checked off.

Heck tonto............I really want to shake your hand and meet face to face. I may/could come up and visit even if I dont compete.
Awaiting some emails ect. before I make up my mind.

Mike

That would be great Mike. Look foward to meeting you and saying hello!!

cmcadams
04-20-2007, 09:45 AM
Mike, if you're coming by, there's always a chair at my site for you, too.

bbqbull
04-20-2007, 12:03 PM
Thanks tonto and Curt.

tonto1117
07-03-2007, 08:21 AM
Was wondering if I will see any Brethren there.

Scottie
07-03-2007, 09:32 AM
I'm not going to defend, I will be in Shannon, where I know it will be a well organized contest...

Scottie

bbqbull
07-03-2007, 10:52 AM
Tonto, I may drive over to G.Rapids and talk to folks I know and meet some new folks like you and Spyder Mike if he going to be there as well as Ford Allison. Would love to hang with Curt and his team as well.
We will not be competing for sure. Too many hard feelings still with the promoter.
I will save my money and do a big gig here at home come fall.

tonto1117
07-03-2007, 11:13 AM
Bull, hope you make the drive over and we get a chance to meet. I know this contest has gotten alot of bad press.... rightfully so by the sound of things, that many teams that have attended in years past will not return. For our first comp we just figured it's 15 minutes from the house and would be a good place to get our feet wet. I hope that they have addressed some of the issues of the past, but I'm not to worried as we are taking the motorhome.....so electric/ac/water/bathroom isn't an issue for us. If it's as bad as it has been in the past , and I'm still on the dark side:mrgreen: , next year we will probably head to Shannon ourselves.

Hope to see you there Bull!!

J Appledog
07-03-2007, 07:00 PM
I will be there helping out. I've been recruited to be a KCBS rep and will be in training. Please intoduce yourself! Julie Applegate

tonto1117
07-03-2007, 08:10 PM
I will be there helping out. I've been recruited to be a KCBS rep and will be in training. Please intoduce yourself! Julie Applegate

Will do Julie!!!:wink:

J Appledog
07-04-2007, 10:45 AM
Will you be wearing kilts?

tonto1117
07-04-2007, 11:17 AM
Will you be wearing kilts?

Hah!!! Not me, I think I"ll stick with jeans and a tee. Told the hubby he's more than welcome to wear his kilt, though he might want to be Real Carefull around the smoker...:shock: Almost bought a kid sized one for the dog and then decided that would just be downright cruel.:razz: :lol: