2010 Harrah’s Casino Annual Blues and BBQ Festival

Grand Champions – Benny, Ganon (Gary Notley’s son), Harry

It was awesome to win a GC Gibson guitar autographed by BB King and Buddy Guy, two Blues legends, when Slap Yo Daddy BBQ won its 7th Grand Championship for 2010 at the Harrah’s Casino Annual Blues and BBQ in the city of Valley Center, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, on August 14. We finished 1st Chicken, 2nd Ribs, 3 Brisket, and 9th Pork amid amid a field of 29 teams from California and Arizona.

With 7 GCs and 3 RCs since April 2010, we’re definitely on a roll. We may need one more GC to get an automatic invitation to the Jack Daniels in October. That is, we may need 8 instead of 7 as our New Mexico GC might be short the minimum 25 teams. We have a do-or-die chance at the Clear Lake contest on Aug 28 to get our 8th before the Aug 31 Jack eligibility deadline. [Correction 8/31/10: I was incorrect.  The IBCA official results web page shows 27 teams, so we have 7 qualifying GCs]

At the national level, we’re currently ranked 6th out of over 4,000 teams. We’re currently in 1st place in the nation’s Ranchers Reserve Vons Beef Brisket Challenge and 1st place in the CBBQA California Team of the Year contest.  There’s a way to go so we’ll see what happens by year end.

My Good Friend, Paduan, and Roadie from Season One, Gary Notley with son Ganon

It was great to see Gary Notley, my old paduan on the TLC BBQ pitmaster season one show who was my roadie and assistant cook. Gary brought his son Ganon along and Ganon was our team mascot during the awards ceremony. It was also great to see many new teams competing and share camaraderie with the old teams who are our good friends. It was super nice of Harrah to provide complimentary seafood buffet ticket to teams as well as two free tickets to the BB King performance.

There was spirited discussion about the season premiere of TLC’s BBQ Pitmaster Season Two which debuted on August 12. Many teams voiced their opinion about the format change. The Internet forums and social networking sites were abuzz with spirited comments. My take on it is that give it a couple more episodes to see how the new format shakes out. When we were featured in Season One, there were those who didn’t like it; however, as the season wore on, the ratings and viewership started to grow.

A BIG congrats go out to all the teams who participated and to Vince and Alexa from Rhythm n Que from Phoenix, Arizona, for Reserve Champion.  RnQ and Slap Yo Daddy have been challenging each other to new heights in the quest for the Jack the past 4 months.  Vince and Alexa previously accomplished their 7th GC in Boise, Idaho, and have their tickets to the Jack.  We intend to follow them there after the Clearlake contest on Aug 28!

A big thanks goes to Carla Miller from Harrah’s for an amazing job organizing this event; Kelly and Kathleen Macintosh, Gene Goycochea as officials; and all the volunteers, judges, and helpers.  We’d like to thank our terrific Sponsors:  Rocks BBQ System for our Stoker temperature control system, T&H Meat and Sausages for our meat products, TheSlabs.com for our rub products, Cajun Bandit for our Weber stainless replacement doors, Smokin Guns for our rubs, Butcher BBQ for our injections, and Snake River Farms for our Wagyu meat products.