BBQ Adventure (2.0) Day 16: Thursday 14th May 2015 (Memphis TN)

Today is officially day one of the Memphis in May BBQ Competition, and the park is open to the public. It is considered a little more of a party day, with no major awards being presented, and most teams use it to socialise and entertain! Feeling a little more a more relaxed myself today, I woke up late and it was nearly 1100 by the time we got ready to go! We decided to visit the Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid complex, recommended by Paul and Neil! As I had some gifts for everyone on the team, and didn’t want to carry them inside the shop, Patty offered to drive us to the event via the shop.    The ‘shop’ was the largest fishing and hunting store I had ever seen! Not only did it have the worlds largest free standing elevator, it even had an indoor lake complete with fish, live ducks and boats!    We decided to pay the $10 fee to ride the elevator to the ‘Lookout’ located at the very top of the pyramid. The view was fantastic, along with a free drink! We stayed there for a while taking in the view, before heading back down.           I purchased a cook book and other gifts, before getting lost inside the labyrinth! I finally emerged at the correct car park, and Patty agreed to join us at MIM for lunch. We parked her car at her boyfriend Danny’s work, and we all walked towards the park.       We arrived at a smaller gate mid way between the main entrances. Unlike last year, no one even checked my backpack! I walked straight into the park with not only a camera with a detachable lens, but a litre of Bundy rum and ten bottles of beer! Needless to say, we will be using that gate tomorrow!     The atmosphere in the booth was jovial, with lunch being served and the booze freely flowing.            We added some Aussie ‘bling’ to the booth, before Sam and I headed off to explore. Our first stop was to give Ken Hess from Big Bob Gibson his gift. Ken is a bee keeper, so I bought him a gift pack of honey. I also introduced Sam to Chris Lilly, a barbecue legend!     Our next stop was Peg Leg Porker, and I introduced Sam to Carey Bingle and my old mate Steve. Steve was developing a Peg Leg smoker and we had a look at it. We all agreed that we need to import them into Australia somehow!         Our final stop before heading back to the booth, was to visit Dr. BBQ, Ray Lampe at the Big Green Egg VIP tent. Whilst there we were introduced to Lee Ann Whippen, another legend in the competition BBQ circuit! It was great catching up with old friends, as well as meeting new ones! I am always amazed at how open and welcoming the BBQ brotherhood is to those that are interested in sharing the love!    We caught up with Bruce Rylance from Boofhead BBQ, a team based in Chicago. Bruce’s father was from Brisbane, and ‘Boofhead’ was the affectionate name he gave Bruce growing up! We left the boys with an ‘oil can’ of Fosters each, and walked back past all the great vendor stands at MIM.        The booth was still rocking, and I stayed there until early evening! I had bought ten hand selected Aussie beers over for Frank and Dave to sample, and we tried them all!            Frank bought a few of his own, and it was a great afternoon!        With a few beers in me, I was feeling quite happy with the day! I sat back and enjoyed a great sunset meal on the upper deck. I was finally amongst my BBQ  family, both old and new!           Tonight was the Miss Piggy Idol, along with the trophy award for the Big Hog Run winner! On the way to the stage, Sam and I joined a team throwing a grid iron ball. I think they were using deflated Tom Brady balls, as one caught me out and bent my finger back!    Not a major issue, and as I continued to the stage, I didn’t even cry once! There was a great crowd waiting, and we arrived to find out that Bret Miller my American relation, took out first prize! Our first trophy for Too Sauced to Pork!    We met some fantastic people, and we all enjoyed watching the final three teams competing in the Miss Piggy Idol,         The sun had well and truly set on day one, of what was promising to be a great MIM 2015! We headed back to the booth to congratulate Bret for his athletic ability! Tomorrow is going to be a little more serious with up to eight turn ins planned in the ‘anything but’ categories. Last year the team won first place in Vinegar Sauce, and the hopes are high for tomorrow!

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