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franklin county times

Moonswiners take first at 'the Jack'

By By Ron A. Harwell, Ph.B.
There were signs throughout the competition venue depicting "Volunteers don't get paid…not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." For those who attended The Jack this year, the evidence of countless volunteers was everywhere you looked or visited! To mention just a few, Stu and Tom drove in from Ithaca, NY "to assist where they were needed the most" while the entire Texas Social Club arrived from all parts of Texas with the same thought in mind. Then there was Wayne and Bill who stayed active all week assisting the International teams. And there are so many more examples like these but the point is that each volunteer came in order to unselfishly do their part in getting all the behind-the-scenes tasks accomplished, as needed. Thanks to Linda &Fred for heading up the volunteer committee this year!!! And thanks to Contest Organizer and First Lady of Barbecue Tana Shupe for your efforts in bringing together this volunteer team as well as the best of the best Domestic and International barbecue teams in what certainly has to be the bestest Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue contest to date. WE LOVE YOU TANA and (just so you know that I love you too) GO VOLS!!! If you're keeping track, there were sixty Domestic teams representing the USA along with twenty International teams from fifteen different countries as well as forty-eight Shade Tree competitors, all cooking to win during this 19th annual barbecue shootout.
It would be difficult at best to report on everything that went on in Lynchburg, TN this past weekend. Hopefully this column will at least whet your appetite of the magnitude of this culinary extravaganza. Most of the Domestic and International teams had arrived by Wednesday, and those few remaining stragglers were all present and accounted for by early Thursday. Around noonish each day, volunteers could be seen lining up in front of the Primo Grills and Smokers display area for Greek gyros compliments of George, Kevin, Jeff, Michael, Big Jim and David. And this year there was a welcome party on Barbecue Hill both Thursday and Friday evenings. Thursday all the Professional teams and most of the volunteers were invited up while the Friday gathering included the Shade Tree competitors along with all of the Judges, the media and those volunteers that were unable to arrive by Thursday. The venue was the same both evenings which began with Cajun hors d'oeuvres compliments of the Lafayette Mafia as you exited the buses and started up the stone path. This dedicated group included Don &Sue, Chad, Dolores, Terry &Judy and JD of the Backdraft Smokers. I'm proud to say they even made me an Honorary Red Coon. As you continued to the barbecue pavilion, you found two buffet lines set up, both with country victuals of fried chicken and fried catfish with all the trimmings, several sides and a dessert. Of course, Mister Jack's products flowed freely both evenings. During the meal there was ample time to visit with friends and enjoy the rustic setting along with tunes provided by the Jack Daniel's Country Ensemble. You could kick back as long as you wanted before hitching a bus ride back down in the valley.
First thing Friday morning, Harvey and I stopped by to enjoy breakfast with the Holy Cow Cookers. I think twenty-six team members of this Houston, TX team made the pilgrimage to Lynchburg and were serving eggs o' heaven burritos this morning. Yummy!!! Also, Tana mentioned during the awards this team had cooked and distributed in excess of ten thousand chocolate chip cookies to the large crowds that strolled through The Jack cooksite this weekend!!! No doubt Mark &Carey of Four Men &A Pig served hash brown casserole this morning but we just didn't have enough time or belly to get by their cooksite. Also, John &Kathy kept the snack tables full at the Volunteer/VIP tent all weekend and just so you know, Kat's Brunswick Stew was off-the-chart!!!
Later Friday morning while Harvey and Carolyn were taking care of Contest Rep duties on site, I was busy at the T.A.G. Camp with the JD CBJ class. Margie had a crew of twenty-four volunteers making preparations at the sign-in and dining areas while Mike &Theresa and Doug &Jonsie along with Barbecue Belles Kristina, Wanda and Maryann had everything under control in the kitchen as they prepared turn-in boxes for ninety-one soon-to-be new Certified Barbecue Judges. Thanks to Mike, Buddy, George and Kerry for cooking all the meat needed for this CBJ class. Especially thanks to Denise for being there and supporting us in such a large way! All the Judges eagerly participated in this hands-on training and were duly sworn in before it was time to drive back to the JD Visitor's Center where over 100 friends attended a Memorial Service for barbeque extraordinaire Gary Wells. Although it has only been a few months since Gary lost his battle with cancer, it truly seemed like a homecoming when we all gathered with Gary's barbecue friends and family members to honor his memory. It was obvious to all present that his many friends still miss him dearly and cherish the fond memories of time-tested relationships established over the years. Cheers to our friend. We miss you Gary!!!
In keeping with the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 brand, there were seven teams drawn to compete in the Friday afternoon "I Know Jack…about grillin'!" competition. It wasn't until 2:00 that the teams learned who would be competing, who they would be competing against and what the meat would be. cancersuckschicago.com, QUAU, Home on the Range, IQUE and Ribs &Bibs would be representing the USA while 100