Decisions, decisions, and more decisions
By Carlene Phelps
If you're a barbecue cook, you definitely know how many decisions need to be made when preparing for the cooking process. Even a seasoned cook might change their mind about rubs, sauces, injections, and/or cooking time. Decision making is simply a part of life.
The Phelps family has made the decision to discontinue the yearly event known as the National BBQ Festival and the National Best of the Best Invitational Championship. It has always taken place on Fall Time-Change Weekend, but earlier this year the decision was made to move it to the weekend that follows the Thanksgiving weekend. After 10 years of successfully hosting the Best of the Best barbecue cooks in this special showdown event, it has not been easy to call it quits. However, as things change in our lives, so must our priorities.
These events could not have taken place without a lot of people who, over the years, have supported this event with their participation. Cook teams have traveled from places like Poland and Austria, judges have come long distances including Great Britian and Switzerland. Volunteers, both local and from other states, have gathered to keep everything running smoothly. These are the people who deserve the credit for making it a reality year after year. Over $600,000 in cash and prizes has been taken home by the winners! A record crowd nearing 40,000 in one year have come to enjoy the festivities.
There are no regrets. We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the entire process. It's been a lot of work, but the rewards of working with some of the greatest people in the world of barbecue has been worth all the effort. Our large barbecue family, which began evolving back in the 80's, has grown to unbelievable proportions! I smile everytime I see how many friends I have on Facebook who are members of our barbecue family from around the world. I'll skip trying to list the SPECIAL people who have always been here for us - you know who you are - and I would not want to miss anyone in error.
The three events in which we handled the judging with their winner attending the Best of the Best are in the process of making the necessary changes to their events. The Atlanta BBQ Festival will now be sanctioned by one of the sanctioning networks and we are awaiting the decision of the the National Bar-B-Que Derby in Derby, KS. This event will have the option of having an unsanctioned event using the Best of the Best Invitational rules as before or sanctioning with one of the networks. Smokin' Eagles International BBQ Festival in Niagara Falls, NY will use the BOTB rules for their 2012 event and we look forward to returning to help this awesome crew in August. We will continue to support them and their efforts to have a great event regardless of their decision.
The corporation known as National BBQ Festival, LLC will continue to exist with plans on hosting the Best of the Best Sauce Championship again this fall. This unique event has always been a signature part of the Festival but one that is not quite as time consuming for us as a family. We will be sending out more information soon for those interested in participating in the sauce championship.
We will also continue to support the Exchange Club of Waycross with the BBQ Border War coming to Southeast Georgia again on June 16th. There will be a Boston Butt Sale and other actitivities saluting Fathers during this event as well - see more at www.nationalbbqfestival.com and click on BBQ Border War.
I'm sure we'll be seeing you down this barbecue road that continues to be paved - one friend at a time!