know how sometimes in life certain special events don't live up to the
expectations you have built up in your mind over the years? I had been
building up the Jack Daniel's contest in my mind for nearly 6 years now,
ever since I first heard about it and knew I had to go. It took me 6
years to earn my invitation, and I am happy to say that the experience
was even better than I had imagined.
I brought along the whole gang to this
great event as a token of thanks for all the hard work they do throughout the
year. We left from work Wednesday and made the 9 hour trip to Kennesaw, GA where we stayed
the night. The next morning we made the 3.25 hour trip into Lynchburg & found
the way to our site. We were set up front & center almost, backed up to a
small creek that ran through the property. It was a great spot, with good power
& water - until a main broke on Saturday. We unpacked a few things, met our
fun neighbors the Big Boyz Cookin' Crew, then got ready for our 1:00pm
seating at Ms. Mary Bobo's for lunch.
Mary Bobo's used to be a boarding house in Lynchburg, and is now run by
Jack Daniel's great grandniece. It is a family style dining experience,
with several groups of diners seated at large tables. Food is brought
out in large serving bowls and there is plenty of everything, We were
served country ham, fried chicken, squash casserole, fried okra, green
beans, baked apples, corn bread, and chocolate brownie pie for dessert.
It was all down-home and delicious, just as you'd expect.
lunch we took the short walk back to our cook site, checking the sights
along the way...
Halloween totem poles made from JD barrels
Park where contest is held
we got back to our site, we loaded up in the truck and drove to the Jack
Daniel Distillery to take a tour. We were hoping to get paired up with
fellow barbecue enthusiast and JD tour guide David Roper, but he was
already done for the day. Instead we got Margie, and she did a great
job. The tour lasted about 90 minutes and was free. We really enjoyed
Outside the Distillery
did I know we'd be winning a smaller version of the statue below :)
Where they burn and
make the filtering charcoal
Tammy and Woody at
the spring where the water comes from
Jack and Amy
I got fussed at by
our guide for taking this picture.
We weren't supposed to take pics inside the building.
morning the gang started getting our site ready for the "Happiest
Home in the Hollow" contest, while I started prepping my meat.
Everything went well and they had the site looking great. The guidelines
stated that your site should reflect your home state, and I don't think
any other site did it better than ours.
Robin guarding the
Tammy playing the
Woody at the fishin'
afternoon we assembled for the parade of teams which was a lot of fun.
All the teams paraded from the contest area, through the town square, to
awaiting busses which took us up to BBQ Hill.
Ready for the parade
Waiting for the start
Teams lined up for
pavilion up on BBQ Hill is a really neat open-air building that the
folks at Jack Daniel's have built for special events. One end of it is totally
open, with a beautiful view of the valley below. There is a huge
fireplace, a stage for live bands, and seating for hundreds for supper.
We were treated to a very tasty meal, live music from a national
recording artist from Nashville, a big roaring fire, and a beautiful
view. Oh, I forgot to mention - an open bar featuring the local
Looking through to
the open west wall
View from the west
Never miss a photo
was a little rain Friday night, but Saturday was a beautiful day. I was
able to partake in the 9:22 ritualistic good luck Gentleman Jack shot
with the Rev (Ulcer Acres), and again about an hour later with last
year's Jack GC, Kelly of 4 Legs Up.
that it was all business as we did the final preparations and box
building for the main 4 turn ins. I was extremely pleased with
everything I turned in and would be excited to turn in the same quality
at any contest. Amy made some delicious banana pudding to enter into the
dessert category and it looked and tasted great! As always we don't take
pictures of our turn ins to avoid any possible bad luck. They all
looked great though and we were proud of our efforts.
Amy's Dad and his
dog Nellie drove over and had a good visit!
girls handed out free samples of our food after all turn ins were done,
and I started cleaning up. Awards were scheduled for 5:00 at the
Moorehead 4-H Pavilion, which was overflowing with people.
The awards were done
very well. It took about an hour though before they got to any
categories we were entered in. No call for "Happiest Home in the
Hollow", and no call for dessert. We were all disappointed yet knew
that we had done our best. that's the way it goes :) When it got to the
main 4 barbecue categories I had high hopes. No call in chicken, no call
in ribs, and then finally we heard what I had so hoped we would - they
called out "Swamp Boys" for first place in Pork!! The
next few moments felt and seemed very surreal for me as we made our way
to the stage, high-fiving friends along the way. Greeting us at the
stage were Jack Daniel's Master distiller Jeff Arnet, and Honorary Pit
Master Adam Perry Lang, as seen on the Food Network and Daisy May's BBQ
in NYC. For our efforts, we received a great trophy with a statue of Mr.
Daniel on it, a bottle of his spirits, some stainless steel bbq tools, a
fancy French ceramic pot, a wad of money, and most importantly, the
THE BEST BARBECUE PORK IN THE WORLD!! :)