Just like all the contests before, this one had no shortage of wackiness. The Inaugural Mexico Jaycees Soybean Festival was the first non sanctioned event I’ve done since last year…and it’s my last.
Nonetheless, we came, we conquered and we won Grand Champion of the Soybean Festival.
1st – Ribs
1st – Pork
1st – Brisket
Truth be told, there were only 3 teams that participated in this event. I competed in the Professional bracket, but there was only one other “professional” cook there, Tony from Renaissauce Man BBQ Team. We first met at the Wellsville comp back in July and we got to know each other a little bit more from our 2 day cook.
Tony and I expected a larger crowd to show, we were told as many as 12 teams “were on the way”, but they never showed. In fact, a significant amount of them had already paid the entry fee….their loss. Of course, my arrogance leads me to believe that they got scared once I signed up.
I did have a specific purpose to be here, first, I wanted to support the Mexico Jaycees because I’m also a Jaycees member. Second, I wanted to cook all four categories (chicken, ribs, pork and brisket). Finally, I had a few new recipes I wanted to test in anticipation for the busy comp schedule we had coming in September.
Early Saturday Morning
But first, I had to overcome quite a few distractions along the way; from my rambunctious kids, to the late night partying nearby, to the insomniac homeless man. The latter distraction was a vagrant who roamed the streets of Mexico all night until he infringed upon our site (with my wife and kids sleeping nearby). I distracted the grimy, gray bearded man away from my family which he took as an invitation for a midnight discussion. The eccentric old man began to ramble on about the city’s history, entangled with civic pride and conspiracies. Most of what he talked about was the city’s once illustrious brick industry…the roads were all bricks! the mines under the city made the best bricks! Mexico was the bricks capital of the world!…on and on he would go.
Eventually, I kindly ended our conversation because it was prep time. He walked off in the opposite direction from which he came, he didn’t ask for money or food, he just kept walking.
After 6am, everything was a blur. I just remember my boys being a distraction during turn in. I was in the middle of putting ribs in the box, then Cole comes to me and says “I need to go potty”. Being a good parent, I told him to “hold it”…immediately, Jamie gave me The Stare. So, she bails on her team duties and takes the little man to the nearest port-a-potty. Meanwhile, I had to keep an eye on Mason while he and his buddy, Lucas, drag their tent across the asphalt lot with toys/books/crayons/etc. spilling out of it.
Despite all of this going on, all 4 categories were accounted for.
At the time of awards, we celebrated. But after the haul of trophies we had, I felt bad about the 2 other teams who came out, competed and left empty handed. Later, I found out that those other participants were given awards as well.
From this moment on, I’m no longer competing in unsanctioned events. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, the level of competition is not for me. I rather lose to the best cooks in the world rather than win against talented backyard grillers.
Shame on those who didn’t show. It wasn’t as if there was an emergency that kept them from showing up, a few teams told the organizer they were on the way, but never arrived. When you no show, you don’t get a refund. In addition, the Mexico Jaycee’s made the effort for adequate space, lighting, supplies and organization to have a great BBQ contest…clearly they were discouraged with the turnout. I hope they give it another try.