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Hanover BBQ and Blues
Massachusetts State Championship
Hanover, MA 9/11/99 
The Team of the Year trophy is a travelling cup that is awarded to the team that accumulates the highest total cumulative point score from their top five events. The winner keeps the trophy for a year and brings it back to the state championships the following year. That's how it's supposed to work, anyway. In reality the cup has done very little traveling. In the four years since it's inception, Lance Fuher and The Yahoos have won it all four years. After Lance won the cup 3 years in a row the NEBS renamed it The Yahoos Cup.

When I arrived at the contest site on Friday night, I learned I was only ten points behind Lance and The Yahoos for Team of The Year. If I could beat Lance by 11 points in this competition I could be the first to take the cup away. This added a lot of tension and some friendly rivalry to the contest, making it even more fun than usual. I couldn't help stopping by Lance's site for some friendly ribbing. (no pun intended)
After the last entry turn-in time had passed, Lance showed up at my site, extended his hand and said "Congratulations, you've got it. We sucked. Our brisket sucked, our chicken sucked. You've beat us". Of course you have to know Lance. He says this at every contest and then ends up kicking butt so nobody pays much attention to it anymore.

I compete mainly because it's fun. Winning is always fun, but I would still have a great time if I didn't win anything. I don't usually worry too much about whether I'm going to win or not. I have to admit, though, that this time, for the first time I was nervous when it came time to announce the results.

The first category announced was Chicken, starting with fifth place. We got up to second place and neither Lance or us had been called. Second place, chicken was called, The Yahoos. Now I'm really nervous. First place chicken was called, Liquid Smoke. Yes, it's within reach if I can just follow this start in the other categories.

The second category was ribs. Now, ribs is my category. I have two 180 pins for receiving a perfect score in ribs this year. I had high hopes for this category. We once again got up to second place with neither The Yahoos or us being called. Second place went to The Yahoos. "Yes" I thought. "We've got it". First place, ribs was called, "The Free Lunch Club". Talk about disappointment. I still don't know why we didn't score better. These ribs were perfectly tender and had the same rub and sauce as our first place chicken. That's one thing about competing. You just never know.

The third category was pork. The same story. Up to second and neither The Yahoos or us had been called. Second place pork, The Yahoos. Pork has never been my category. I've only placed a couple of times and third place is the best I have done so my expectations weren't too high. When they called the first place winner, Liquid Smoke, I almost fell over. We were back in the running.

The final category was brisket. We also had high hopes for our brisket. I felt it was the best brisket I have done all year. Fifth place was called, The Yahoos. Again, "Yes" I thought. "We can still do it". We got all the way to first place, Boss Hogg. No place in brisket. We knew then it was over. We finished the day as we started, ten points behind the Yahoos in total points for the year.

This was my first year competing on my own. I felt honored to come as close as we did to Lance and The Yahoos. They have proven over the last four years that they are formidable competitors producing consistently excellent results in every category. We had some great times together competing this year. Congratulations to Lance and the whole Yahoos team. You deserve it. You really were Team of the Year!!

But! Just wait until next year, Lance!!!!

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