Saturday, March 16, 2013

Barbecue folks- BPOE- Best People on Earth

The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks might think they have dibs on the acronym BPOE standing both for their name as well as what they think of their membership, but I am here to tell you they do not corner the market when it comes to having some mighty fine folks within their midst. Now I am not saying they don’t have some great people in their organization, on the contrary, what I am trying to say here is barbecue folks are some darn good people too.

In my short time dabbling in the competition barbecue circuit I can honestly say I have met some really nice people. Many of whom I am proud to call friends. The most interesting phenomenon I have observed is it is pretty much a gimme that while at a contest, you don’t have a lot of “free” time on your hands. You spend a relatively short period of time in person socializing with others, as people including yourself are often times busy with their own contest setup and prep.

But when you do have those fleeting moments to chat, it is as if you having been having conversations around the pit for years, and these are folks that you only see in person a few times a year. Now I realize that people communicate more than they used to with today’s social media, email and text messaging, but you get my point. Easy to talk to would be an understatement.

To further support my contention I can honestly state that I have personally observed teams that are always in the hunt to win giving advice and tips to new and or struggling teams at a contest. I have also watched as they genuinely cheer for and encourage the rest of the field at awards time. I have seen pitmasters with multiple awards under their belts walk through and entire contest grounds personally wishing the other teams good luck with their cook before the first turn-in.

Have you ever been to a contest and forgotten something or had a piece of equipment break or fail, I have observed this on numerous occasions and watched as other teams pulled together to make repairs or loan equipment to allow the affected team to participate. I have seem examples of teams flying in to cook a contest in another state and other teams bringing extra gear and supplies so they can cook.

I could devote an entire column on the good deeds done across the Country by barbecue folks, their organizations and charities and still probably not mention them all. If you don’t believe me, take a look around at the next big weather event or natural disaster and see if you can count the number of free meals served up by the blue smoke army. You’ll be impressed I assure you.

Additionally I have made the acquaintance of judges, contest reps, event organizers, as well as sanctioning body representatives and family members of opposing teams, good people all around I tell you. I have even been approached while at a contest or sent an email by a complete stranger (not for long) who has taken time to comment (both good and bad) on my columns and other scribblings. It makes me feel good to know someone is reading my stuff and even better to know they have enjoyed something I have written. Thanks for that folks. Many times, I find those conversations or email exchanges can become lengthy, as if we had been friends for years, and in a way, I think we have.

I guess what I am trying to say here is if you spend any time at all around the game of competition barbecue or even barbecue in general, I guarantee you’ll meet some mighty nice folks. I am thinking what we need here is a slogan or mantra like the Elks use without infringing on any copyright violations or getting any lawyers involved. I have noodled around with the idea for a while and as of today, have done nothing more than fill a scratch pad and make myself chuckle.

My acronym of BHSOTBPOE (barbecue has some of the best people on earth) is a bit long and makes little sense without the words being included. The phrase would be a little long for a bumper sticker and could possibly cause accidents as other drivers tried to get close enough to read the fine print so they would know what you are talking about.

So I guess it is back to the drawing board to come up with a catchy slogan that we can use to get our message across. It’s a good thing that the 2013 competition season is getting under way, I look forward to seeing my old friends and making new ones as well. Perhaps we can put our heads together and come up with something we can use, something catchy, something like, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends, but something tells me that too has already been used. 

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