The second annual Sauce and Cycles Backyard Grillers Barbecue competition got off to hot start Friday night, as the clouds parted and the cobblestones began to really heat up.
Local “Backyard Grillers” and “Professional Grillers from all over the country started arriving in Falls City early Friday morning to take a shot at winning a portion of some $20,000 in prize money.
This year’s event was slightly different than last year’s inaugural Sauce and Cycles. The public was encouraged to come out on Friday night and vote for the best ribs in the “People Choice” contest. With the purchase of a $10 wristband, patrons were allowed to sample a box of six ribs and vote for their favorite. This year’s winner of the “People’s Choice” award was Corey Rush, aka “Smokey Bear,” of Omaha, who took home $700. Curt Kretzinger, aka “Grandpa Smokey’s”, of St. Joseph, MO, was second and took home $500; and home town hero Andy Dean placed third and pocketed $300. Cookers in the “People’s Choice” portion came from as far away as New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The Chamber supplied the ribs and approximately 150 people dined on the deliciousness of flame-broiled animal carcass.
One of the many teams competing was last year’s husband and wife team “Crome’s Smoke.” During their first competition last year Matt and Danelle Cromer placed second in the Professional competition in the brisket category, upsetting the nationally ranked “Iowa’s Smokey D’s.” Cromer, who had considered not competing this year, said he changed his mind last minute.
“I enjoy barbecue and coming out and seeing everyone and I’d be happy to get in the top ten, I just hope for the best,” said Cromer.
Starting at 11 a.m. Friday with his nephew, Ryan Bauman, Cromer recognized this year’s more experienced competition, “It’s going to be tough,” he said.
Tough it was for “Crome’s Smoke” — the team placed 30th overall, 11th in chicken, 20th in pork ribs, 31st in pork and 30th in brisket.
Parked next to “Crome’s Smoke” was five-year veteran Gary Jones and his team “Buck Snort BBQ.”
Jones, who came from North Platte for the competition, has been doing this for a while.
“Normally I do four or five of these events a year but this year, this is only my second,” he said.
“Buck Snort BBQ” also had success in last year’s first annual Sauce and Cycles event, placing second in ribs. When asked what “Buck Snort’s” specialty was, without hesitation, “ribs” said Jones.
He said the long drive from North Platte is worth it.
“It’s fun seeing people and down here we have a lot of family here,” Jones said, referring (at least) to his brother Jim.
Jones had nothing but praise for Falls City Chamber Director David Branch, the founder, director and heat shield for FC’s Sauce and Cycles.
“This is a good one, and I’d say it’s right up there. I mean I’ve been to some that aren’t very organized but this one is well organized and ran well and the money is good,” Jones said.
Branch, too, was happy for the most part with the 2015 version of Sauce & Cycles.
“I was very happy with the number of cookers, but even more happy with our volunteers. Penny Caudle deserves so much credit. She set up the meetings and all the volunteers really knew what they were doing,” Branch said. He estimated 25 volunteers pitched in Friday and 50 people overall performed a collective 300 volunteer hours Friday and Saturday.
Like Cromer, Jones also realized that competition would be stiff this year. “Buck Snort BBQ” placed 17th over all, 12th in chicken, 24th in ribs, 18th in pork and 11th in brisket.
In the Backyard Grillers competition, last year’s overall winner, husband and wife team “Limp Brisket” (Mitch and Julie Sailors) did well again, placing 3rd overall, 2nd in backyard pork, and 4th in backyard ribs. The big winner in the Backyard Grillers was the “Farmhouse Firestarters” team, who placed first in all events.
The KC Barbecue Society was on hand again – 45 strong – to judge the professional cookers, followed by the Backyard Grillers. After the BBQ awards were presented, the motorcycles were judged on seven different categories. Barbecue was available for purchase from the cookers with the purchase of a $10 wristband. Along with the Sauce & Cycles event the Chamber hosted an outdoor showing of Wild Hogs on Friday night and the High Heel Band performed Saturday night.
“All in all, there were a few missteps, but mostly behind the scenes, and we’ll make some changes and try and make it bigger and better next year,” Branch said.
Results of the BBQ Competitiomn:
Grand Champion: Jaestar BBQ
Reserve Champion: 4 Legs Up BBQ
Overall – Professional
1. Jaestar BBQ; 2. 4 Legs Up BBQ; 3. Burnt at Both Endz
1. 4 Legs Up BBQ; 2. Three Brothers Different Mother; 3. Tattoo Bob’s BAR-B-Q
1. Burnt at Both Endz; 2. Jaestar BBQ; 3. Three Brothers Different Mother
1. Jaestar BBQ; 2. 4 Legs Up BBQ; 3. When Pigs Die
1. Moe Cason BBQ; 2. Iowa Wild Hogs BBQ; 3. Smokeaholics
1. Farmhouse Firestarters; 2. Blind Squirrel BBQ; 3. Cleveland Pythons BBQ; 4. Limp Brisket; 5. Catdaddy’s BBQ; 6. That’s What She Said; 7. Smoke On Arrival; 8. Brown Baggers; 9. Big Dog BBQ; 10. Sauced Hogs
1. Farmhouse Firestarters; 2. Blind Squirrel BBQ; 3. Limp Brisket; 4. Cleveland Pythons BBQ; 5. Catdaddy’s BBQ; 6. Big Dog BBQ; 7. That’s What She Said; 8. Brown Baggers; 9. Smoke On Arrival; 10. Double A BBQ1
1. Farmhouse Firestarters; 2. Blind Squirrel BBQ; 3. Limp Brisket; 4. Justin Vonderschmidt; 5. Cleveland Pythons BBQ; 6. Big Dog BBQ; 7. Double A BBQ; 8. M.E. Smokin; 9. Catdaddy’s BBQ; 10. Pretty Piggers