Hog Happnin in Shelby, NC
Around the beginning of November I rode up to Shelby, NC to visit the Hog Happnin' barbecue festival with my friend Daryl, who rode down from Cincinnati. We met up on Friday evening and found a good Mexican restaurant within walking distance of our motel and enjoyed a good dinner. Afterward we enjoyed hanging out and catching up over a few good beers we'd each brought along; he had brought an Abita (based in Abita Springs, LA) brew that I had not seen - SOS, or Save or Shore; the brewery donates 75 cents from each bottle sold to oil spill recovery efforts, and I read recently that they'd just written a check in excess of $100,000.
Saturday morning we were pleased to find that the hotel had a pretty decent breakfast spread, so we ate and chatted with a couple of the hotel employees. It had gotten quite cold overnight, dropping down to around freezing; the hotel staff thought we were nuts riding our bikes in such cold weather for such great distances to visit a barbecue festival, but it's stuff like that that Daryl and I live for.
The main component of the festival was a barbecue competition; many teams were present, several from great distances, cooking their food on site to be judged early Saturday afternoon. The equipment used by most of the teams was quite serious; they weren't using Webers from Wal-Mart! I got a kick out of some of the clever team names and slogans.
There was also quite a large car show, where we saw lots of interesting machinery - some very fast cars, some very exotic cars, and some cars just quite different and impressive in their own ways, like this fellow:
A very accurate General Lee, complete with air horns in the engine compartment for blasting out "Dixie!"
Autographs from Roscoe and Cooter!
A Carol Shelby race car! Drool. I'd love to know how much this thing is worth.
I figure Joe will get a kick out of this one. :-)
There were also a couple of good musical groups jamming. This was a very talented bluegrass group doing some serious picking.
A rock band jamming with Cerwin-Vega speakers on the main stage, and they sounded fine. :-)
We were able to visit with a lot of the competitors, and they were all very talkative and open about their cooking methods, even though they were competing. We were unable to sample their offerings, since it was all being judged, but a local fire department provided some very good barbecue for purchase.
We parted ways around mid-afternoon after having had a very good time. Daryl is quite the barbecue cook himself, armed with a serious smoker comparable to what these guys were using, and I think he was bitten by the competition bug! Perhaps next year we'll be back as competitors. :-)