Enjoyed a VERY HOT day at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia this weekend with the Dirty Dirty Tailgate Family at Tailgate Fest 2016.
They took the top prize in Ribs as judged by certified Georgia Barbecue Association judges and placed third in the “onsite tailgate experience.”
The following appeared in Tailgater Magazine:
The sun is rising on Saturday, June 11 and participating tailgate competitors start
trickling in at the Infinite Energy Arena parking lot, home to the Atlanta
Gladiators, an ECHL hockey team and the Georgia Swarm, a NLL lacrosse team.
Tailgate Fest, coordinated by local sports talk radio station, 92.9 The Game, is a
chance for groups that love to tailgate, practice for the upcoming Atlanta Falcons
football season. Twenty-five competing teams had plenty of room to set up their
cook stations, grills, tables, games and the reigning Tailgate Fest 2015 winners, We
Dat, had a cooling station tent, which was much needed as temperatures soared to
almost 100 degrees.
Setting up their sites is very important as “best overall set up,” best burger and
best chicken, and best ribs are to be judged by the Georgia Barbecue Association,
the state sanctioning body for barbecue competitions. “This is NOT a barbecue
competition,” Greg Hoyt, Vice-Chairman of the GBA and contest representative,
announced during the 9 am team meeting. All competing teams were present to
review the rules of the contest and turn in times. “Food will be judged on
appearance, tenderness and taste,” explained Mr. Hoyt. The best overall set up
will be judged by 3 judges that will visit each site for 15 minutes. Teams will be
judged on appearance, spirit, hospitality and overall impression. During the site
visits, each team is encouraged to interact with the judges and make them feel
welcome at your tailgate party.
After the meeting, teams were dismissed and the contest was on! Game day music
was pumping. A kids zone with inflatables was colorful. A car show, beer garden
and cigar lounge were opened for all attendees. Free admission and parking were
available for everyone.
As the temperature soar, so are the fires from those grills. Competition teams are
given styrofoam turn in boxes for their food. At 10:15 am, burgers are to be
turned in first. Anything and everything could be on your burger entry, as long as
six portions were available for the judges. Less than one hour later, chicken
entries are turned in. All types of chicken recipes were submitted. At noon,
judges started making their rounds to begin the “on-site” tailgating experience.
Danny Meadows, President of the GBA and one of the on-site judges said he was
looking for a good visual impact, spirit, enthusiasm and team support, as well as
hospitality by each competitor. At the Dirty, Dirty Tailgate Family team, who are
excited Atlanta Falcon fans, judges are greeted and their names announced by DJ
Melvin. Food is offered to the judges, as well as their signature cocktail, Dirty
Bird Punch. NFL Network is on their big screen TV and Falcons regalia is evident
everywhere. Dirty, Dirty Tailgate Family team cook, Bill Goddard, who is also a
competitor on the Georgia Barbecue Association circuit, says they tailgate at
almost every Atlanta Falcons home game. “We always have a big turn out and
like supporting our Falcons football team,” says Bill. Renee Goddard, Bill’s wife,
escorts the judges throughout the tailgate site and makes them feel like they are
part of the Family team.
After site visits, there is no rest for the competitors or the judges, as ribs are due to
be turned in just after 1 PM. Ribs samples must be on the bone and could be
sauced. After all food entries were turned in, teams could relax and enjoy
Southern rock cover band, Convoy, playing at the center of all the festivities.
Country artist Kurt Thomas would be performing after the awards, scheduled for
3:30 pm. Meanwhile, a development had occurred during the on-site judging, a
FOUR WAY TIE had occurred during scoring tabulation. A revisit by three new
judges was in order, for the top four scoring teams for the Best Overall Tailgate
Experience award. Dirty, Dirty Tailgate Family, The “Nest” Tailgate Crew and
The Dirty South Tailgate Crew and We Dat all in contention for the treasured
The “Nest” Tailgate Crew are Falcon football fans who use this event as practice
for the upcoming season. Members Sharene Jupiter and Amy Moody says most of
their group are former military personnel and season ticket holders. With classic
party tunes, food and their homemade Julio Punch (named after Falcons wide
receiver Julio Jones), a crowd gathers, forming a line dancing troop.
Led by pit master, Stan Andrews, The Dirty South Tailgate Crew demonstrate their
barbecue grill, complete with cast iron pull out shelf, branded with a football field
and Falcons emblem.
Besides the cooling tent, former festival winners, We Dat party on a full length
sofa, watch a big screen TV and display an adult beverage bar.
Judges have revisited the four top tailgaters and everyone gathers for the highly
anticipated awards ceremony. Trophies and bragging rights are awarded to the top
place teams in each category. The best burger was awarded to The Nest Tailgate
Crew, who also took home the best chicken dish award, with a perfect 600 score.
Best ribs award went to Dirty, Dirty Tailgate Family. And The Dirty South
Tailgate Crew was awarded the best overall tailgate experience trophy.
It may have been an extremely hot Saturday in Georgia, but nothing will keep
Atlanta sports fans from celebrating a tailgate party with food, music and friends.