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American Royal's Annual Baptism

Don Grissom & Derek Muller, Dueling Bubbas

American Royal's Annual Baptism
Don Grissom & Derek Muller, Dueling Bubbas

Scene One;  On The Road:   

The camera shows an old pick-up truck with Florida license plates pulling what initially looks to be an old, rusty torpedo on a trailer.  The camera zooms in on the trailer and it is discovered the torpedo is actually a rather used bbq pit with a sign that reads, "American Royal or Bust".

Fade to another vehicle, this one is a new, very large/expensive RV with Texas license plates pulling an even larger, much better maintained bbq pit.  On the RV is a banner that reads, "Barbecue's USA Smoke, On The Trail Of Smoke To The American Royal".

Several other fades showing tow vehicles of various descriptions (new/used/pretty/barely running) pulling an equally diverse array of bbq pits... all with some sort of signage indicating they're heading to the American Royal BBQ Contest in Kansas City.

Scene Two;  The Arrival:

The various tow vehicles with their bbq pits in tow shown in Scene One begin arriving in the parking lot of the American Royal complex in Kansas City.  The sun is just starting to set, the wind is kicking up and as the various participants get out of their vehicles they scan the skies and see some serious clouds coming their way.

Many of the participants obviously know one another from prior contests and shout greetings as they begin setting up their cooking sites.  Newer teams spend a lot of time going around saying hello to the teams they know and introducing themselves to the others, they also break out some beers to celebrate their arrival at the "world series" of bbq contests and generally are having a good ole time.

Scene Three;  Rookies & Veterans & 'da Storm:

While the newer teams are using up precious time, the veterans (knowing what the weather is going to be like shortly) get into their foul weather threads, put up their shelters, awnings on their RV's, position their cookers where they want them and tie everything down.

Shortly the wind kicks up another two notches and the rains, thunder and lightning begin their annual baptism of the American Royal teams.

By the time the storm is in full gear the veterans are finished with their set-ups and are out walking around with their drinks (ranging from hot coffees and sodas to beers and Jack Daniels) saying their hello's to the other teams.

Meanwhile the newer teams are out in the storm, without rain gear, fighting the winds and trying to get their shelters up and tied down.  Camera shows a number of small, flimsy shelters being launched like kites by 50+ mph wind gusts.  The veteran teams notice the troubles and lend their hands and experience to the newer teams to get them situated.  Vets are showing the newer teams how to tie their canopies down to their tow vehicles and other little tricks that will help them survive their American Royal baptism.

Scene Four;  Of Resolutions & Lattes:

When the last of the rookie teams is finished with their set-ups, they thank the veterans that helped out (the vets are still nice and dry in their foul weather gear) then look at one another and laugh.  They look like drowned rats.  Their clothes are soaked, their shelters have some rips in them and most of their cooking gear and supplies including their precious wood and charcoal are quite wet. 

One of the rookies comments to his partner, "Next year we bring rain gear, get our site set-up before we break out the beers and rent an RV." 

His partner nods in agreement and mumbles, "Yeah, yeah, but for now, let's try and dry out and get some sleep.  It's only Wednesday night and we start cookin'  tomorrow for the Invitational then start again on Friday for the Open.  After tonight we'll be lucky to get two hours sleep thru the end of the contests on Saturday."

One of the veteran cookers that had helped them with their set-up overheard their comments and whispered to his wife and cooking partner, "Don't know about you, but I plan on getting at least 3 hours of sleep and watch the Yankees and Angels go at it.  Don't really care which team wins, just love to watch a good ball game while the cooker is doin' it's magic.  Now, let's go see what's on the satellite, check the RV's oven and see if the cobbler is done... I'm ready for some TV, a snack and another cup of latte."
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