2nd Annual High Desert Music Festival

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High Desert Music Festival and BBQ Showdown

Victorville, CA

June 28, 2014

The Victorville Fairground was host to the high Desert Music Festival and 2nd Annual BBQ Showdown. Thirty teams were positioned on the grounds to compete in the event which included a KCBS sanctioned BBQ competition and a backyard Stubbs sponsored rib and chicken cook-off. Debbie Yopp and Noble Jackson were the promoters offering the teams a venue with large sites and all the other amenities you could wish for at a competition. In addition to the Sunday backyard event, a KCBS judging class was offered on Sunday, June 29th for those wishing to achieve KCBS judging certification. Teams began arriving Thursday afternoon and noted that the Victorville fairground was located near many grocery stores and warehouse shopping. Locating good restaurants was the subject of social media inquiries where some suggestions met with happy dining and meals shared by BBQ friends.

Teams driving into the venue Friday were greeted by waves of hello from everyone from the promoters to teams already set up along the entry route. Steve and Merrialyce Alvarez were the KCBS representatives assigned to this event. Upon arrival, teams were assured that there would be no delays in meat inspection and team check in. The KCBS reps walked the venue and announced that the cooks meeting would start in the designated area at 6:00pm. Cooks meetings are nice because you get to see who has arrived and the teams new to competing get recognized as rookies or first time competitors. Their special treat is to listen to the CD on KCBS rules and guidelines for competition.

After the cooks meeting, the teams socialized and relax for a couple of hours. Most teams cooking either ‘low and slow’ or ‘hot and fast’ have completed their brisket and pork preparation with everything from injection to rub applications for brisket and pork. Smokers have been set up, checklists have been double checked and it’s time for dinner. Whether dinner is a dining experience at a local restaurant, pot luck with friends or casual food prep on site, everyone is gearing up for the competition.

Quiet time was announced as 11:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The area was pretty quiet with only the occasional sound of laughter. Those not cooking ‘ hot and fast’ have their pork and brisket meats on by midnight. Those cooking with stick burners have a designated person manning the fire throughout the night. Those cooking hot and fast have an early wake up call for 3-4 am to put their meats on. Those cooking with pellets, Stoker/Gurus or vent regulations may get a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Looking into the sky, the background is one of BBQ smoke drifting into the skies and the smell of cherry, pecan, hickory, apple, peach and other woods burning to smoke meats for the competition.

Many alarm clocks go off round 5:00 am. Brisket and pork butts are checked to see if they are ready to wrap, sprayed with various concoctions to ready for wrapping, or treated on the smokers for later intervention. Ribs are prepped for their introduction to smoke and chickens are doing their thing in brines or waiting to sweat their rubs. The cooks are getting ready for breakfast with varying foods from a good cup of coffee to chorizo, egg, and cheese burritos, sugary cinnamon rolls and Danish treats. Debbie and Noble also provided breakfast for the cooks offered in the air conditioned judging area.

By 10:00am all the cooks have on their game faces focusing on those final steps to get their meats to the judges. The turn in boxes are garnished to assure the nicest picture frame for each meat in hopes of getting great appearance scores. Some superstitious cooks have changed into their winning apparel, set out trinkets bringing good karma and turned on music which gets them in the zone towards achieving a great cook.

With turn ins complete at 1:35pm, a sigh of relief can be heard across the fairgrounds. Now it’s time to relax with friends, share samples with other competitors and the best anxiety reliever before awards-cleanup. Everyone asks how you felt your cook went but in hopes not to jinx yourself, you just reply as one of my neighbors did that “I’m not mad at any of my meats”. Musicians graced the festival stage with blues, country and R&B music as people gather around the stage dancing and enjoying BBQ treats from vendors and those teams selling samples.

Awards started around 5:30pm. A local DJ had the honor of making the announcements under the supervision of the contest reps. A number of teams had multiple calls by the time the brisket calls were named. Dennis McGrath of Porketeers had 3 top five calls and he was a very strong contender for Grand Champion. By the time the 10th to 2nd place in brisket were called by the DJ, Steve Alvarez took over the microphone to announce that the 1st place brisket was receiving a 180 score and by the rules as the KCBS rep, he was making the announcement and awarding the 180 pin to PORKETEERS.

The top 10th-3rd overall winners were announced. Once again, it was announced that not only had a 180 been awarded in this contest but there were also two more inductees into the KCBS “700” club. The Reserve Grand Champion, Big Poppa Smokers received a 701.2116 and the Grand Champion, Porketeers received a 703.4516. Dennis did a happy strut to the stage to accept his trophy and the Harley-Davidson commemorative jacket for the event. After the awards, the event staff distributed event bags containing coupons, a t-shirt and a mug with the team name engraved on it. Score sheets were distributed, pictures taken and monetary awards were given to the winners.

A Special thank you to the event organizers, Debbie and Noble and their staff, the KCBS reps, Steve and Merrialyce and to the Victorville Fairgrounds for a wonderful event.

Chicken Results:

1 Funtime BBQ

2 Porketeers

3 Zzyzx BBQ

4 Simply Marvelous

5 Big Poppa Smokers

6 Porterhouse BBQ

7 C and C BBQ

8 Lady of Q

9 Loot N’ Booty

10 Smokin Money


Rib Results:

1 Sin City Smokers

2 Big Poppa Smokers

3 Cool Grilling

4 Porketeers

5 Stoke to Smoke

6 Lady of Q

7 All Hogs Sauced Up

8 Wild Willy’s Smokin Hot BBQ

9 Funtime BBQ

10 2nd to Last BBQ


Pork Results:

1 Simply Marvelous

2 Stoke to Smoke

3 Tropical Heat

4 Porketeers

5 Cool Grilling

7 Loot N’ Booty

8 Big Poppa Smokers

9 D Blacks Smokin Que

10 Left Coast Q


Brisket Results:

1 Porketeeers – Scoring a 180

2 All Hogs Sauced Up

3 Wild Willy’s Smokin Hot BBQ

4 Hog Heaven Sauces

6 Lady of Q

7 Loot N’ Booty

8 Simply Marvelous

9 The Woodshed

10 D Blacks Smokin Que


Overall Results:

1 Porketeers joins the 700 club with a 703.4516

2 Big Poppa Smokers has another 700 club score with a 701.2116

3 Lady of Q

4 Loot n’ Booty

5 Simply Marvelous

6 Funtime BBQ

7 Porterhouse BBQ

8 All Hogs Sauced Up

9 Hog heaven Sauces

10 Cool Grilling


The Grand Champion, Dennis McGrath also received a special jacket from Harley Davidson. Sunday’s special event was a Stubbs Backyard BBQ challenge. The Grand Champion was Andy Soto of Master of Disaster. The cook included two meats of ribs and chicken which were supplied by the sponsors.

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