A good sport for good times

Published 11:04 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For the past two years, my wife, some friends of ours and I have been active members of the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). We generally compete in five to six events each year, mostly in Alabama.

I’ve met Dr. Haywood Mayton a few times at competitions and spent a little extra time getting to know him following a horrific monsoon early one June morning in Haleyville.

I’ve also met many other Demopolites on the barbeque trail.

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Dr. Mayton, rather his team, Doc’s Ribs, is a great story.

In about a year, he has extablished his team as a consistent contender. That’s hard to do over a period of several years much less a handful of months.

At most of these events hobbyists like Doc and myself are pitted against some of the biggest and most respected names in the barbeque world.

Finishing within a few dozen places of someone who is as successful as many of the professional teams is an honor in itself.

Above the competition aspect of a KCBS event is the opportunity to get to know people who share common interests. The friends you make on the barbeque trail are friends you make for life. It’s amazing how well people remember your name when you only see them a few times each year.

However, they usually track your every move via the organization’s newsletter, where winners from events around the country are listed.

How much common ground could a newspaper guy, the associate dean of a college and a professional cook have?

A lot. On any given weekend at a barbeque cook off, people from all walks of life sit around swapping stories and admiring each others smokers – regardless how big or small.

The great thing about the cooking circuit is that one of the most widely renowned cook offs in the state is right here in our hometown.

Demopolis’ Christmas on the River is one of the most respected events in the state.

It’s nearly impossible to gain entry, which only ads to the intrigue.

A new competition in Livingston several weeks ago created quite a buzz on the trail.

The potential for that competition is limitless.

That would put two major KCBS cooking events in our area; one in the spring and one in the winter. Believe it or not, that’s a pretty major happening.

Most cookers will want a hotel room. Nearly all of them will need some form of groceries and gasoline while in town.

The boom to the local economy is significant. A weekend event can fill up hotel rooms and cause a nice little jolt to area businesses.