grand championship trophy
Competitions,  Event Summary

Ribs Win Grand Championship for Smokin J’s Barbeque

After four years of competing against the toughest barbecue teams in the country, we finally won our first


Our rib category entry was good enough to carry the big trophy home!

Preliminary round competition rib turn in box
Preliminary Round Competition Rib Turn in Box

BBQ & Brews Cadence Fair started like any other competition for us.  Arriving in our huge rig, proved to be a slight challenge for organizers.

Those who do not participate in competitive barbecue are not aware of the hard work, organizers and promoters endure to pull off one of these events.  Gary Lamb, Kristen Cash-Raines and the entire BBQ and Brews team work to put on the best festival event in North Georgia.  We look forward to your Spring 2018 events in Canton and Cartersville.

After getting the rig parked, Doug, our beloved pit master began setting up our cook site, while I prepare the camper for the overnight stay.

What we enjoy most, during every Georgia Barbecue Association, is socializing with our bbq family.

Seeing everyone; giving hugs; catching up on life events;  is like a family reunion of sorts.

Doug and I try to met at least one new team (although they may not be new to the GBA) at each event we attend; even if we are judging.

We welcome new to the GBA family, Native BBQ. This was their first GBA event.

And we broke bread at lunch with two other teams;

East Coast Barbecue – Joe & Cindy LaPlante


Pirates of PorkScents – Jan & Dale Wilson

We had such a great time with them.  Our waitress at Freight Kitchen and Tap was laughing with us.

By the way, if you are ever in Woodstock, Georgia and need to eat lunch or dinner, their Angus Beef Early Train burger is awesome!  They have a plethora of craft beer on tap.

JoAnn and Renee walking the rib box to the judges tent
Enjoyed a visit from Rub Shakers Que

After lunch, it was time to prep meat for the contest.  Then, we attend the traditional “cook’s meeting.”

Finally, dinner fellowship with Just Blowin Smoke and We Want Que.

After we finish working on the meat, we catch just a few hours of sleep, before it’s time to get up and take care of a few cooking procedures.

Then, back to sleep for just a few hours, before the real work begins. Poor Doug was a bit under the weather, but he battled through – obviously – triumphantly.

Saturday was a typical competition day for us.

Feeling insecure about our loin turn in;  feeling a bit over confident in our pulled pork entry (at least I was feeling confident); and finally, uncertain with our rib box.

My father and recent, team financial contributor (more about that in the weeks to come) arrived to sample our rib entry.

Assertively he said, “those are the best ribs, I have ever ate!”

Which gave me a hint of confidence, but then again, he could be doing the “let’s say something nice, thing.”

We were paid a visit my #bbqbestie, Renee Goddard and her husband, Bill Goddard of Rub Shakers Que.

After making her family reunion rounds,  Renee commented, “everywhere I have stood today, that team has got a 2nd call, so I am gonna stay here with you, till ribs come around.”

Well, her good mojo paid off. I was in the cook rig, probably cleaning up something, when I heard someone beating on the side of the camper, at the same time, Doug is screaming my name!

I rush outside to see, WE GOT A SECOND CALL IN RIBS!

Doug smiling and JoAnn jumping for making finals
Getting a second call for ribs guaranteed us 3rd place or better. This was only the 2nd time it had ever happen to us! I was jumping!

What an incredible moment!  Only the second time we have competed in finals!

Our first time..was for ribs too!

Thank goodness we prepared for a second turn in.

Most people think, you just cook meat and your done – HOLD ON – there is a second round of judging; therefore, a second round of turn ins.

Our rib “finals” turn in box was actually better than our preliminary box.  My father even agreed the second box tasted better than the first box.

We were feeling good, but EXTREMELY NERVOUS about the second round of judging.


All the boxes you are being compared against are GREAT, not just GOOD, but GREAT – or else they would not be in the finals.

New this season, our rib box was being compared to the BEST 3 loin boxes AND the BEST 3 pulled pork boxes AND the other 2 BEST rib boxes.

While waiting for the awards ceremony to start, we began the laborious task of cleaning up everything; packing up everything; and preparing for our long journey home.

CONGRATULATIONS to all teams whose names were called during the Cooking For Fun and the Pro categories.  Recognition for all the hard work is gratifying.

Special accolades to We Want Que (who also took home Reserve Grand Champion) and If You Smoke It, They Will Come, our rib category competitors.

When we heard Greg Sebastian announce, “in 3rd place ribs, We Want Que!”

We got very nervous.  A top two finish??? What????

Then Greg said, “in 2nd place ribs, If You Smoke It, They Will Come.”  I almost screamed!

I had to cover my mouth.  Doug dropped to the ground…he was so elated!

Finally hearing, “in 1st place ribs, Smokin J’s Barbeque!”  I started crying.  I realized, this put in a great position for the Grand.

Doug hoist the first place ribs trophy


It was our first LARGE trophy in professional competition barbecue.  When we returned to our seats, my dad whispered to me, “I told you those ribs were good.”

The two most prestigious awards were left.

GBA President, Greg Sebastian says, “your Reserve Grand Champion is…WE WANT QUE!” 

Holy cow!  Husband and wife team, Michael & Stephanie Chumbley, had a great weekend of barbecue.  Winning Reserve Grand Champion is a special feat.

Now, for the big moment…

I reached over and held Doug’s hand…

Greg Sebastian says, “and now, your 2017 BBQ and Brews Cadence Fest Grand Champions…


I did scream! Cupped my hands over my mouth to try and control myself.

Doug was doing a great impression of Rick Flair with his, “WOOO – WHOO!”

Doug holding Grand Championship Trophy
Doug is holding the Grand Championship trophy as JoAnn is emotionally overwhelmed.



Such jubilation!

Some GBA teams have won multiple Grand Champions.  Some teams get second calls frequently, some even double final; but this was a very special moment for Doug and I.

I wish we could personally thank everyone of our GBA family members for their congratulatory well wishes.

Grand Champions and first place rib trophies


You are our peers and people we respect.  It was wonderful to share such a breathtaking moment with you guys.

And to our GBA family members who missed this stunning event…

we plan on winning again, so you had better be there!  LOL


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