Deep in the Sauce
It's about sauce, food, & everything else.
Road to our First KCBS Competition: Aftermath PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tom   

"How did you do?" It's an innocent enough question. Heck, we ask it of everyone we know all the time. Usually the response one can use for something like this is a simple "good", "great", "bad", or "We sucked". The questioner responds accordingly in either congratulations or condolonces and then you move on. But, what happens when the answer isn't so simple? In my case, with the recent competition we were at, the answer wasn't so simple. Yes, it could be simple. I could just say "Good! We took first in sauce." But, that wouldn't really be the whole truth. Although BBQ Sauce is our bread-and-butter, the competition wasn't really about the sauce, it was about BBQ as a whole. When you look at it as that, by points alone one could say, we sucked. However, I don't really feel that way. I actually feel really good about the whole thing. How is that possible? First off, it was a great experience in general. There was a lot of work involved but, the feeling of accomplishment upon getting everything turned in on time was fantastic! Second, the scores we received were not brutally horrible and actually made me feel pretty good about what we turned in. Third, it was our first time out, we didn't walk in any of the major categories but, we didn't come in last either. And, fourth, it was something that me and my wife were able to take part in together.
"But, you won a trophy, isn't that awesome?" Winning another trophy is always great but, it's about more than the trophies. We've won trophies in the past and the moment they announce you are the winner is truly spectacular but, after that, it's over and the trophy is just a reminder of what happened. I look upon our past trophies and remember what it fealt like at the moment the announcement was made but, I refuse to sit around and get lost in those past moments. Moving onto the next moment is the most important part to me. You are only as good as you are today. Yesterday may have been a great day but, proving yourself for today is what matters. To me, trophies are for other people to look at more so than the people who won them to look at. When it comes to this latest trophy, it's a real mixed bag of emotions. We did win it in a field that consisited of some other sauce makers or people attempting to become sauce makers. They might not have national brands but, there were some who entered who make their living selling their sauces. Many friends and family were not surprised that we won in the sauce category. I think even some of the competitors thought it rather unremarkable that we won. Afterall, making BBQ Sauce is what we do. And, according to them, making the best in BBQ Sauce is what we excell at. There is also a sort of "bitter pill" aspect to this current trophy as well. We won in a category that wasn't considered one of the major ones for the event and didn't manage to even place in any of those. It's actually kind of strange to have people go from being excited one second to wanting to be excited the next. You tell them about it, they think it's awsome but, then you tell them you didn't get anything else and, you can see that part of them wants to still shout and cheer but, another part is really confused. It's the "You got first but, you didn't win?" confusion scenario. So, yep, getting a trophy for sauce making is awesome but, it doesn't mean you really won.
"What do you think about your scores?" This is one of those questions that will cause a person to go slowly insane. Some people are obsessed with the scores they get at competitions and try to analyze every little number. In our case I have two thoughts. First, I think our scores were very fair for what we turned in. I will admit that it was not the best BBQ I have ever made but, that even on my bad day it'll come out above average of most. Also, being our first competition, our box presentation was decent but, it needs to be alot better to get the higher scores. And, second, I think when you are looking at scores, you have to look at them in a very general, trend sort of way. For us it was that the flavor and tenderness were above average in general but, not spectacular and that, overall, our presentations aren't bad but need to be a bit better. All and all, when it comes to the scoring, you have to be really turning in some spectacular stuff to earn the big victories. In our case, above average just was not good enough. Specially when you look at some of the great teams we were competing against.
"Would you do it again?" I love this question! Heck yeah! It was a great experience. Besides, I know the things we need to work on and what to better expect next time. Besides, the way I look at it, we can only get better and, considering we weren't that bad to begin with, that is an awesome thing to think about. I always want to be better and improve. I know our time will come when it all comes together perfectly and we do take that Grand Champion title.
For those who have been following along with this whole process, you'll probably remember me talking about what it's like the day after a huge event. It was pretty much the way I described it. The whole world resets itself back to normal and you're left wondering if what just happened the day before really happened or didn't. It was great to get back home to our kids and spend the day with them. We actually went fishing! Haven't done that in a year!

What can I say? The kiddie pole is the lucky one.
This is what it's really about though. Coming home and spending time with family. Enjoy the moment while you can. Just like that moment of award or victory. It only lasts for a minute but, the feeling of being in that moment lasts forever.
Thanks for following along!

As a side note, my oldest has claimed the trophy as "ours" and thinks we should build a shelf for it and keep it at home. Think she's more proud of us than we are.