Well, I won my first comp. It was a bit of one calamity after another. My seven year was excited about going even she would have to get up at 3am stay there all day and no kids to play with. At 1am she woke up very sick. Was having a hard time talking and managed to get out, Tell Dad Iâ€™m sorry, I canâ€™t go. She was a little busted up by it. Then I get out there and the wind is blowing like stink (this is foreshadowing for another event). I picked out what I thought was a good spot. I brought more wood than I thought I would need and a couple of bags of charcoal. I wind was blowing across my smoker and it was not getting up to temp. So I pointed by firebox into the wind to get to get smoke blowing into the barrel. Finally I caught a break on something and my temp got into my target zone. I walked away to talk to a friend and I came back and there was a skunk under my smoker. For some reason I did not blow a gasket. I just stood close enough to make it want to go away and not make it defensive and it went away. I got my camera and snapped a few pics because I knew no one would believe it. So not learning my lesson, I walked over to talk to the same friends and when I came back, there was a different skunk. This was almost in reverse colors. I did the same thing and it went away without a gas attack. Then I noticed something fairly scary. My fat was draining next to the firebox. I did not notice I had put my firebox slightly lower than the drain. At there is nothing explosive at this point. Earlier in the week, I caught a break. Friends gave a quite a bit of hickory, apple and cherry. I had some mesquite. I thought I was bringing way more wood than I thought I would need. Every time I choked down the air flow, the temps dropped below cooking temps, almost. If opened up the air flow, temps got into the target zone but I was going through wood much faster than I intended. I was not able to find a happy medium. I decided to start supplementing with a lot of charcoal to conserve my wood. Then my primary thermometer went south. I thought my temps had gone way south, so I added more wood and the temp was stuck. Then I noticed the stock thermometer was way hot. At the point, I stopped feeling guilty about splurging on a second thermometer the day before. About that time, the fat finally caught fire. I was able to use a stick to rake the fat into the firebox and it went up instantly, crisis averted. There were five judges. I cooked brisket, butt and chicken. There was a fourth cat of other which I did not enter, but should have. I had five chicken quarters for the judges and I dropped one of them. Fortunately I had plenty of legs. I dropped a few legs to. Then my temps finally stabilized and I thought things were finally starting to go my way. Then I noticed flame coming out of the barrell. My whole cooking area is a blazing inferno. My butt 1 is about 180 with about 2 hours left. Butt two is about 176 and the brisket is doing great at about 187. I had to take out the meat, devise a way to put the fire out and get the fat out as well. With nothing else to try, I used a roll of paper towels, some long tongs and water bowl. I sopped up the burning fat with paper towel and then dunked the burning paper towels in the water. I was afraid I was going to get a larger fire in the water but all the fat stayed in the paper towel and the flames extinguished. So after about 20 minutes lost, I get my meat going again. Luckily it comes back up to temp quickly and stabilizes. Then I caught another break, the judging was moved back an hour. My brisket got to about 200 and my pork was still about 190 and it was getting close to time. I was thinking fantastic, my specialty is going to be junk and the first attempt brisket was going to make it. I took the brisket of the racks, wrapped it and put in the cooler. I had to pull my pork at around 193. My other butt was still about 190. I had to take off the pork, pull it and serve it. I did not have time to make the beans I normally make. I improvised some in about 5 minutes. It was based loosely off the beans in Bossmanâ€™s video. I am still trying to remember what I did. I was the last to be judged. They asked me if the beans were in the category of other. Stupid me I said no because I did not think we could enter beans. They said you should have, you would have won that cat. AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH! And with that, they walked away. I forgot to mention I burned the crap out of myself a couple of time. Considering the topic, that is probably just whinning. So I walked around and sampled my competition and I started to feel pretty good and that I may have a chance of doing well despite the adversity. Meat on the racks, sorry, forgot to take pix of the chix. Chix was on a grill. Pepe LePew Pepe LePew's Friend Proto typing my presentation The Beans Me squirting sauce making the presentation Still preparing And the winner is... I can't believe, everything went wrong and blind hog finds acorns. To make things better, I unseated the two time defending pork champ. I got complements that was the best pork they have ever had. I wish I would have had another hour. I think they would have been more impressed. I never really felt like it was a comp. I was just out to enjoy some good times with good friends. Today was a good day.