Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pigs and Pedals Revisted

Returning to Asheboro, NC, to judge has been a priority since 2014 when I participated in the inaugural Pigs and Pedals cookoff. Because family obligations prevented me from attending in 2015, I was interested this year in seeing how the event had changed since its inception.

In its first year, the cookoff was well planned, organized and executed. For 2016, Pigs and Pedals was again a superior experience. A few changes had been made since the initial cookoff. Judging is now conducted in The Exchange, an attractive event space in the middle of the downtown area and very convenient to the cooking teams. The number of cooking teams also increased to the maximum that the event space can accommodate: 47.

The Smokehouse Mafia, last year's Grand Champion, sets up early.

The surprise for me was an assignment as table captain, which meant that I would not be judging and evaluating barbecue entries. It was my first time as a table captain although I had been certified early last year and had volunteered at other events. The primary duties are to assist the contest representatives of Kansas City Barbeque Society by coordinating activities at a judging table (there were eight this year), serving the judges and collecting their evaluations.

Piggy cupcakes made by a local bakery greet judges as the arrive in The Exchange.

The six judges at the table where I was assigned had a wide range of experience. Three were master judges (more than 30 contests), one was participating for only his third event, and one was recently certified and judging for the first time. Contest organizers attempt to include new judges at events and place them at tables where they can learn from experienced judges.

The Exchange, an event location, is now the venue for all judging activities.

Although I prefer to judge, I willingly had volunteered to assist as a table captain when I registered. I will continue to volunteer in more than only the capacity of judge, although the rewards of being a judge and evaluating barbecue entries are clearly the motivation for judges to participate and spend the time required to drive and attend.

Pigs and Pedals remains one of my favorite barbecue contests and I hope to attend future cookoffs – as a judge or in another capacity.

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