The highlight of the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival, for me, came at the hands of the filming of BBQ Pitmasters. I didn't realize until we were up there, that this was actually the final episode of the season, the $50,000 Grand Championship match.
A little bit of a spoiler, the 3 teams fighting for the title and grand prize are Pellet Envy, Sugars Barbecue, and Butcher BBQ.
The kicker for this episode, was each team got their own Lang Smoker and had to do a whole hog. Since they were doing whole hogs, the filming was 2 days instead of the one day it usually is. By the time we got their Saturday, they had already done the first turn ins, and the 2nd team was up presenting their whole hog. Each team presented for probably an hour to an hour and a half (no lie), and I'm sure it'll be edited down to about 1 minute once the episode airs.
Sugars Barbecue are up in front of the judges presenting their whole hog.
Each team's tent area.
"The Pit" on the backside of the bus for the other teams to talk about how they did while the other team presents.
Yes, it's literally just on the other side of the bus.
Butcher BBQ is being filmed while they prepare their hog.
Just another shot of the set up
Butcher BBQ on stage taking directions for the presentation.
The son was bright and just over head, so this is everything that has to take place to get that "perfect shot" that nobody will ever see.
Just another guy setting up in another location for filming.
Presentation time for Butcher BBQ ... another 15 minutes after he did his prep work.
Pellet Envy filming his talking points just around the side.
Seriously, he's filming on the side while they're filming the presentation on the front side.
The judges taking orders from the Executive Producer (I know that's who she was, because that's what one of the workers said).
The judges discussing the presentation and food.
Tuffy just looks like he's saying something so important with his hand out like that.
All 3 teams around back now. I'm not sure how they do the "live" judging with the comments and all, but I never once saw a tv back there ... maybe they just tell them what the judges say and they react ...?
The sun was starting to get behind the trees by this point, so the screen had to come down ... apparently for some, that means nap time.
Still at work ... and still laying down ...
Take that screen over to that side, I'm laying down over here ...
The 3 teams around the back nervously waiting for the awards ceremony.
This is Lara, she's the crowd cheerleader. She stood over by the side during the ceremony, and told us when to cheer and even got the crowd doing some chants for the teams and judges. This is also the one that told us it'd only be 30 more minutes ... every 30 minutes. The ceremony was originally supposed to happen around 4:30, but we ended up not leaving until 7 ... not to her fault, but she kept coming over and apologizing after she'd promise "just a few more minutes."
Tuffy apparently thinks he's a photographer as well. I, apparently, thought it'd be a good picture to take a picture of him taking a picture.
Myron Mixon's son was in the back chatting with the film crew. Jack's Old (nor New) South wasn't competing in the actual competition, so I'm not sure why he was there, other than to hang out with dad.
Once break time was over, everyone went back out to their tents and "worked" for a little while for a few more shots.
And then it was the moment of truth ... the teams were in formation ...
Myron making the final speech ...
(In Myron Mixon's voice) "AND THE WINNER OF $50,000 AND THE TITLE OF BBQ PITMASTERS GRAND CHAMPION HERE IN TRYON NORTH CAROLINA IS ..."
I'm not going to tell you that. Did you really think I was going to spoil the whole season, and say who won?
(I will post the pictures of the winners after the finale has aired.)
The filming for the episode and season was over, and competitors and crew all celebrated.
Now for, obviously, my favorite part of the day.
Possibly my new favorite BBQer and new full time judge, Melissa Cookston. All of the judges were super friendly and nice, but once Melissa signed my card and took a picture with me she said "thank you so much for asking." Maybe it's just her being new to the whole "spot light", but it came off very genuine.
Tuffy Stone was a little shorter than he looks. Heck, he even looked taller walking around the set. I don't guess I realized how short he was till looking at the picture ... notice, I didn't let him get as close as I let Melissa ...
Myron was a trip, I've always heard hot great of a guy he is and how he has his TV character, but he's really just a good ol' boy that likes to cut up with people, but I've also heard that he's just like his TV persona and he's a jerk. In the time we were around him, I'd have to say he's a stand up guy, and a MILLION times more friendly than I would have ever imagined.
One fan asked for a picture and said "I bet you're tired of doing this, but thank you", and he said "Man, I love this. I love BBQ, and anything I can do that gets me around BBQ, I love."
Once I walked up, he glanced at my hat, but didn't say anything. Again, Dawn thinks this is the most tacky hat in the world, so I say to him "it's ok, you can say how much you love this hat." He then looks back and then loudly says "SOUTH CAROOOLINA" and chuckles a little. At that point I said "so I'm guessing you're a Bulldog" and he goes "oh you know", so I had to follow it up with "well, if you want, you can always switch and become a Gamecock fan since ya'll can't beat us anymore." A crowd of guys that were around us all started laughing and gave him the "oooohhh". He raised up and said, "You know the only reason ya'll are winning is because you have that son of a b---- Spurrier on your side line. That man can win with anybody, and I can't stand him because of it." We all stood there and chatted for a second, took the picture, and then I said, "you know, some might say you two are similar in the way you always win and like to talk about it." He just made this big ear to ear smile and then I said "but he's always said "people don't like you if they can't beat you. They only like the ones they can beat, so I guess that's why nobody likes me." Myron started laughing and said he liked it and shook my hand, and we left.