The final competition of the year was held in Clarence, NY, just outside of Buffalo, at a pumpkin patch. Oinktoberfest was the largest comp we had done, 60 teams. But, we were still hot. We had a great season and were looking to finish maybe close to Top 5 in the Empire State Circuit. We were at 7th place going in, and felt really good about our chances!
The first night was great, lots of laughs with our friends, the odd bevvie and then we settled in for the cook. Oh, did I mention the rain? Rain at Oink is about as likely to be there as smoke is. This is late September and it's cold and wet.
Saturday, the cook is going OK...I had been fighting with the cookers quite a bit overnight, and we were all quite tired. 12:02, we finish our Chicken box, close the lid and notice it was built upside down. We panicked. In our efforts to fix that and not lose points on Appearance, we were 17 seconds late in turning in Chicken and were disqualified. DQ'ed.
Now, they say there are 2 kinds of teams in BBQ: Those who have been DQ'ed, and those who haven't been DQ'ed yet.
We were devastated. The wind was punched out of us, and the rest of the cook and turn-ins felt empty and miserable. For the other meats, we actually did reasonably well, in the top 20, but no calls. Because of the Chicken DQ, we experienced out very first D.A.L. (Dead A$$ Last). It was a long drive home. What a way to end the season. We still finished in 10th Place in the circuit, but...
With Oinktoberfest being our own personal Waterloo, I swore vengeance for the next year. No pics, it was not a memorable event.
But we learned many valuable lessons from that loss. Trust me, I had to wait for 8 months till our next competition. That gave me LOTS of time to think about that day, and how we could have handled that whole fiasco better.