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Sunday, June 22, 2008

West Volunteer Fire Department's 15th Annual Barbeque Cook-Off

I'm posting this article that I wrote on March 26th for the Associated Content website. I wanted to post more of the pictures that I took that day, so for those of you who have not read it, I hope you enjoy.

Last weekend my hubby and I spent a fun-filled, relaxing afternoon at the West Volunteer Fire Department's 15th annual Barbeque Cook-Off in the north central Texas town of West! We go occasionally to visit my sister and brother-in-law while they're cooking for various Barbeque Cook-Offs around the state. They were competing at the Volunteer Fire Department's Barbeque Cook-Off Saturday, March 15th. They've also been to several Cook-Offs in Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. They're great competitors and have two rooms FULL of awards. They usually compete in the Barbeque Brisket, Barbeque Ribs, and Barbeque Chicken categories with an occasional entry in a special category such as "Cook's Choice," Beans, Dessert, or Pulled Pork.

Backwoods Smoker
For a long time my sister only helped her husband prepare for the event. Since she wasn't the actual contestant she wasn't allowed to actually help him cook. Then she fell in love with a small, very unique cooker - the Backwoods Smoker. It was only the SECOND time she entered using her new Backwoods Smoker when she snagged the coveted Grand Champion award at a Cook-Off in Irving, Texas. She has been cooking ever since.

American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri
They were invited to cook in the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri a couple of years ago. They came away with a check for 2nd runner-up. My brother-in-law has also cooked in the Great American Cook-Off in Kansas City, Kansas, where he won 1st place in the Invitational Pulled Pork category. The next day he cooked in the open contest with 182 other teams and won 1st place in the chicken category. He has really had to watch his back, however, because my sister's awards are beginning to crowd out his in the office and the den!

Awards Ceremony at the West Cook-Off
When my husband and I stop by where my sister and brother-in-law are cooking we try to show up in time for the awards ceremony which is usually held on a Saturday afternoon about 5:00 p.m. Everyone is so friendly and they have so much fun together, we really enjoy the excitement of waiting to hear who won, who got on the final table and who won Grand Champion. The Grand Champion has to have the highest score of any other cook in that particular Cook-Off. The Cook-Off in West was no exception.

Kids Barbeque Pork Chop Cook-Off
My niece's 5-year-old daughter has been entering the Children's category with her special Barbeque Pork Chop. Last weekend at the West Barbeque Cook-Off she placed 2nd in the Kids Barbeque Pork Chop Cook-Off for ages 5-10. She won a trophy that is nearly as tall as she is.

It was reported that last year there were 101 teams and I believe there were nearly as many this year. The Cook-Off is sanctioned by the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA) and is judged by their rules.

The IBCA Mission Statement can be found on their website:

"International Barbeque Cookers Association's purpose is to develop and bolster equitable competitive Barbeque cooking internationally."

We give competitive cookers the peace of mind when their product is placed in the judging area. IBCA shall know no boundaries nationally or internationally.

The Cook-Off was held at the West Rodeo grounds where motor homes, rolling barbeque pits, pickups, and the wonderful smell of barbeque filled the air and the grassy parking area reserved last weekend for the cooks and their "followers." The West Volunteer Fire Department sold barbeque for $8 a pound and had a drawing for a $300 charcoal grill that was donated by the West True Value Hardware Store.

Everyone Wore a Different Hat!
I always try to have my camera with me and I especially loved taking pictures of all of the different "hats" found in West that day. Everyone was so friendly and very willing for me to snap away. I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of them. I have attached five of my favorites to this article.

Don Swift Photos
I also want to tell you about the pictures that Don Swift took at the Cook-Off.

Don is a great photographer who routinely has his work in the Waco Tribune-Herald and also online. Don takes great shots at high school sporting events and some of his best were taken at China Springs High School football games. Of course, I'm probably a little prejudiced since my niece and nephew are both involved with the football team and the marching band. Don Swift's photos of the West Barbeque Cook-Off are online at the Waco Tribune-Herald website.
As my husband and I drove away that evening headed back north towards Fort Worth we both agreed that we had one of the most enjoyable afternoons we'd had in quite a long time. We decided to try to go more often. Maybe my sister and bro-in-law will actually let us go in the motor home with them and stay all weekend some time soon!

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When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

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