Atoka BBQ Fest 2013

April 08, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

A new tradition in Atoka, Tennessee began this weekend.  A big BBQ competition!  There were over 50 competitors and many vendors.  As I have never been to a BBQ competition, this was an eye opener.  I had so much fun photographing this event and meeting some really nice people.  I would have to say that this event had some of the nicest people around you could ever meet.  Every BBQ team I talked to was friendly and welcoming.  

 

I arrived at the event around 11am on Friday to take a few photos before setting up my vendor booth.  Due to the buckets of rain dumped on the grass Thursday it was a bit muddy.  So glad I got some new boots for Christmas because they really came in handy.  I was amazed at how the city was quickly dealing with this.  Grading, dumping sand and packing it all down to create a nice dry roadway. 

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Meat inspection was Friday morning and teams were busy prepping things to begin cooking.

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I Eventually I got my booth set up and spent very little time there because I was capturing all the goings on with my camera.  My daughter helped work my booth so I could be out and about with my camera.  It was so enjoyable meeting all these cooks and photographing what they were doing.  There is an art and craft to cooking some good meat, just as there is an art to capturing a scene with my camera.  

Atoka BBQ Fest 2013-33-1 I can't help but get a couple shots in that I would consider a bit technical.  A seven image pano and an HDR image of the vendor booths at sunset.

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Friday evening was full of fun and entertainment.  Teams begin preparing meat for overnight cooking and loads of people were hanging out.  Bean bag toss seemed to be a big hit with many of the BBQ teams.

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Saturday morning was preparing for the judges visits.  I was so happy to be able to photograph up close while these teams were being judged.  The judges would come into the team area and the cooks would tell the judge about their cooking process and talk about why their meat is the best.  There's a lot that goes into this.  These teams have been cooking all night and working hard.  They get judged on presentation also so everything has to be just right.  

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After walking around this event and meeting lots of people I can tell that they are really passionate about this.  They have a good sense of humor too.  A great event and I look forward to it again next year.

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