Welcome to Frederick
If you’ve been following our chronicles you know that we’ve finished in the top 10 in 5 out of 6 contests this year yet we always seemed just on the cusp of a high finish with the brass ring being slightly out of our grasp. I decided Friday that we were either going to be “Zeros or Heroes” at Frederick; read on.
Arrival and setup went without incident. Dennis and Don were onsite to get us in with Hillary and Todd due later. One of the nice things about Swinetastic is the large sites. The organizer was kind enough to switch our site assignment back close to where we were last year; up against the fence line where the tree line would afford us some protection.
As we were prepping and trimming I outlined my Zero or Hero plan to the team. Reactions were,,,,,interesting but everyone agreed that change was needed. We prepped, we trimmed and wondered where Todd was. Turns out that Todd hit the Friday traffic gremlin and what should have been a 4 hour drive turned into a 13 hour one!
Zero hour arrived and it was time to light the fires and do final prep. I was worried that the jet blast might wake the neighbors but the snoring from the next site almost overpowered the fire starter.
Hillary had tinkered with the recipes a bit after Middletown and wanted to go a step further after our 170+ score at Beltway. While the taste was fine, I wasn’t really happy with the final chicken itself and the judges agreed with a score of 163.4286 and 23rd place. Not a good start.
We’ve struggled with ribs all year always hovering in 150-160 score range. Zero to Hero time. A couple of major changes and poof! 4th place with a score of 169.7144 for our first call.
We didn’t change the pork around but I struggled in the boxing phase. Let’s face it, the box was a hot mess. 18th place with and a score of 164.5712.
Here we are again, with 63 teams anything was possible at this point but we needed a big brisket call. I was nervous because the point only yielded 8 good burnt ends and we had to eat one of these as a test. We took a big risk, boxed it up and sent it in. Hero time! 1st place with a score of 176.0000
With only two calls and considering the competition we were figuring another top 10, maybe top five finish. This was driven home when Mark Gibbs of Checkered Flag 500 was called for reserve with 3 calls. We were stunned and thrilled when we were called as Grand Champion with a score of 673.7142.
No. Todd and Dennis didn’t have “the operation” both had to depart due to pressing Father’s day commitments . Two of the Ravens cheerleaders stepped in for them. It felt great to finally break through the “top 5” barrier and be back in the Jack draw. A week off next week and then on to Winchester.