Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stagecoach Music Fest, Indio, California

Well it has taken me way to long to finish off this post!!! I now know that when I am waiting for pictures from my camera, I am better off not waiting... I am too lazy to dump them off my camera! But I will make the best of it and I probably have some better pictures anyway, not from my camera!!!

I flew out to Indio, California for the Stagecoach BBQ Contest. Thom Emery is the organizer for this event and he has been recruiting me to come out to Cali! I flew in to Tucson, where my friends had picked up the majority of my supplies when they came out to Rio Rancho in March. As soon as I was getting my stuff ready once I landed, I realized I brought the wrong sauce!!! What do you do? You get up at 5:00 am and go to the store to try and make some sauce!!! This was after 4 hours of sleep... The sauce wasn't bad, I thought...

I hit the road on Friday morning. I wasn't moving too fast, which was OK in my books! I managed to add to my critters that I have hit scorecard! I thought that the most unique thing that I have hit in my travels would be a armadillo in Arkansas.. Nope, on my way through the desert, I ran over a rattle snake. Just to make sure that rattlesnake wasn't going to be tied with a armadillo, I also hit a baby one on the way home to Tucson... So that was 2 snakes on this trip! I will say, that with Arizona's speed limit at 75, there was no way I was swerving or slowing down for these snakes...

It wasn't a long drive over the desert, but I was greeted in California with this gated looking welcome center... I thought I was in Mexico and had taken a wrong turn! The Agricultural Officers were laughing at me that I was stopping to take a picture... Damn tourists!!!

I can also check California off my list... That is state # 21 in my quest to cook in as many states as possible.

Did I say it was warm in the desert? When I started trying to take this picture, it was reading 99ยบ in the desert. It took me a while to try and drive and take a picture at the same time and the temp dropped. The desert is really weird like that. With hot spots and cooler spots... But the weather was in the 80's the entire weekend.

This contest was 3 contests in one weekend. On Saturday, we had a KCBS and a IBCA contest. It was definitely a challenge to get all of my stuff turned in, as I was working solo. I was real happy with my turn-ins, but obviously not as happy as the judges... As you will read farther down in this post, the highlight of my weekend was to come!!! I did manage to finish 8th place Overall in the KCBS contest. The IBCA only keeps track of the top 10, but when I had looked at my tickets, I was all bunched in the top 20. Not good enough to get to the final table, but it was only my first time trying to cook IBCA, so I was fine with that. Rhythm N' Que did the double dip that weekend and took the GC in both the KCBS and the IBCA contests!!! Way to go Vince and Alexa! My highlight came before the awards even started. The California BBQ Association made a donation to my foundation for $725!!! I tell ya, as many times as I have done this, it really does tug at your heart strings. So I apologize for any ramblings that I may have been doing!!! ;-) Thanks also to Ben Lobenstein who took these shots and was kind enough to share them with me!

I was sound asleep on Saturday night by 10:30 from exhaustion. I was up and at it at 4:30 am, getting ready for the new day. I had some better luck in this one and scored a 1st place brisket and 7th place overall. Lotta Bull took the GC. Mike and Debbie had to leave the contest early, so they weren't even at the awards! They had Kathy and Phillip Brazier picking up their awards!

Probably one of the coolest things happened at this contest. On Saturday, Merl Whitebook had challenged the cooks to raise money for cancer research in Monica Bendict's memory. Merl even had the collection box being passed around in the judging tent. Well, when the amount of money was raised wasn't' enough, Merl decided to bring it to the crowd on Sunday at the awards ceremony. He had Maegan walk the crowd with a turn-in box and it was an amazing site looking at everyone holding up their money waiting for Maegan to come over and collect it!!! If I wasn't in such a state of shock, I probably would of remembered to take a picture of this, but I didn't remember... Merl called Jay and myself up to the stage to announce the results of the monies collected. It came to a staggering $1535!!!!

Folks, I have got to say this was one of the most touching moments that I have ever had raising money. All I have to say is, thank god, I did not have to speak. I wouldn't have been able to... To say it touched me, is putting it mildly... To say that it touched Jay, I think is putting it mildly... I will let the photos speak for themsleves...

I would be remiss if I didn't thank the drive behind this donation. My thanks go out to Merl Whitebook. You are the man Merl!!! It takes a lot to challenge people and you managed to do it the right way. It truly was an honor to be up on stage with you and Jay. You can tell the love that Monica and Jay have with the cooks in the Arizona/California region. Well, the whole Southwest for that matter!!! It truly takes my breath away.

Cancer Sucks!



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