In one week the 2011 BBQ season will be over for us. We will be driving home from The Jack; undoubtably tired, hungover, sad, and happy. The goal of every season for us is to get back down to Lynchburg. To be fortunate enough to compete at The Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue. To eat at Miss Mary Bobo's, be part of The Parade of Teams, and party up on BBQ Hill with all of our friends. I love watching the sunset over the Hollow. I love the feeling I get in that open air pavilion. I love seeing everyone smile, laugh and drink. I feel their joy; it's palpable. I think that is what makes The Jack so different from all other contests for me. I'm truly there to have fun. I know that sounds a bit cliche but it's true. It's the only contest that we do that I can honestly say that I'm there just to have fun. I don't do competition BBQ to have fun. Don't get me wrong: I have a blast. But that's not why I compete. I'm at a BBQ comp to cook the best that I can and try to win. Sure, I'll consume a copious amount of La Fin du Monde, eat great food, and late night shenanigans are going to happen. And as a result, I have a great time at BBQ comps and end up with a lot of wonderful memories. But running through my brain the whole time is the task at hand: to get to The Jack. So if I'm lucky enough to get back down there, I'm really looking to just have a great time.
Because as soon as it's over, and we're on the long drive home, my mind drifts to the next season... Was that the last time that I'll see Lynchburg? Will I ever sip Jack Daniel's up on The Hill again? Over the cold winter those questions will remain unanswered. Then spring will finally get here and I'll set up my gear in a muddy field for the first time of the year. The new BBQ season is underway; the race begins. As summer marches on I'll try to secure a spot down in The Hollow. I hope to have at least one bung in The Draw. I hope that I'm lucky enough to get it pulled. And if that does happen, only then, do we start making plans for an autumn road trip. So, after all the angst and uncertainty of the BBQ season, after working hard on getting back down to Lynchburg, when I get there I intend on having some God Damn fun.