BBQ Fest Guidelines

Last year I posted these guidelines just before Memphis In May's World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, or as anyone without a stick up their ass calls it: BBQ Fest. I believe it helped so many people that I'm reposting it this year. Enjoy. I have taken the liberty of updating a few spots (changes in yellow).

Here are my unofficial official guidelines to "Doing BBQ Fest Right"

Rule 1: Get on a team
This is easier than you think. Ask around among all your friends if they have a team. If none of them have teams, get new friends. Or find out if any friends of friends have teams. Express interest in joining their team.

It's too late to join a team now. You should have done that back in January or February. If you are interested in joining a team, then I recommend that while at BBQ Fest ask a team member of whichever team you like how you can join or be brought up for membership, etc.

What team am I on? I'm not. I have friends spread out through about 10 teams. Several of them are trying to get me to join their teams for next year. I will visit these teams (and others) and see what I like. Cold beer, hot girls, and no douchebags are a plus in my rankings.

Rule 2: Don't join a team

If you aren't going to join a team or can't, that doesn't mean you can't have fun. Send an email to everyone you know but don't carbon copy them. Say something like:"Hey, I'll be at BBQ Fest this year and I want to be sure to see all my friends. If you are on a team, please let me know because I want to say hi. Blah Blah Blah."

Don't carbon copy (cc) everyone. Just Blind Carbon Copy (bcc) or send individual emails. The key information that you want to get is
a. Team name
b. All team members you know
c. Booth location
Each bit of information is critical. You want (a) because that's the name of the team (if you don't understand that concept pull the nail out of your temple so you can start thinking again). You want to know (b) because if buddy 1 leaves and someone asks you who you know, you can point to buddy 2. Also the more people you know on a team, the more fun you'll have. And the more likely someone will know the hot girl by the keg and can introduce you (Duh!). You want to know (c) because you can't go to something if you don't know where it is.

Rule 3: Get enough of cash

You will need to buy a ticket in and you will need cab money (see rule 4)

Rule 4: DO NOT DRIVE!!!

You are going to be downtown at BBQ fest and you can't walk home (for distance and inebriation reasons). Get a cab. Or a hot girl to drive you home. What's that? You can't get a hot girl to drive you home! Well then get a cab you wimp.

I recommend a cab down there and back. Why? You take a cab down there. Say it's $20 one way (I believe that's what it is from High Point Terrace to Beale). The cab pulls up to Beale & Front to let you out. Why is this important? Because if you (or one of your friends) drove there, you will have to park in a parking garage or at someone's house. If you go to a parking garage, then you'll have to pay at least $15 dollars to park. And you'll probably have to walk a half mile just to get to Beale & Front where the cab would have let you out. Then someone will have to drive home after all that BBQ and beer. Let's do the math here:
Taking a cab: $40 round trip
Driving: $15 parking and several thousands of dollars in DUI fees and court costs

Rule 5: Pace yourself

No one wants to deal with your drunk ass at 6:30PM, so pace yourself. Eat a big meal before you go down there. No, they don't always have free food for you. So you want to deal with it properly. I also recommend either getting a B12 shot or start taking Super B Complex vitamins (I take them anyway. They help reduce stress supposedly and it's just like a daily B12 shot). This is critical if you are on a team and will be there almost 24/7.

Rule 6: Bring a Camera

Need an excuse to talk to a pretty girl? Have her take your picture with you and your buds. Or better yet take her picture. Tell her you need proof that there actually was a hot girl at BBQ Fest who wasn't slutting around from tent to tent. Kidding that line would never work, but you get the idea. Or just be honest. Chicks dig honesty right? Not.

Ladies, do you see some hot guy you want to talk to but he's too stupid to come say hi? Have your friends take a random pic with him. Sure it's forward, but you'll be the one woman that'll stand out to him for the rest of the night. At the least, you'll have a pic to make your friends who were too cool to come jealous.

Plus how cool would it be to have a pic with you and 25 of your newest friends screaming and cootie brown drunk. (aka "Drunker than Cooter Brown", it's a Southern/Redneck term that means fitshaced)

Rule 7: Be prepared for the mess

Wear comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting muddy. Simple enough right? Look good, but for God's sake, be ready to get covered in beer, mud, and sweat. Hmm...beer mud and sweat...that sounds like a redneck wedding right?

Rule 8: Be prepared to stretch your bladder

There are no bathrooms beside porta-potties. Be cool and don't mess them up. Best bet is always to be at a friend's tent when nature calls. Each team has one porta-pottie (some bigger ones have two).

Rule 9: Watch the language please

Late at night when everyone is tore up from the floor up, just about anything goes. But remember that Wednesday night is for the families (and is not open to the general public) and some people will bring their kids in the early evening. So while the kids are around, watch the cussing, you dick.

Rule 10: Ladies, watch the four letter words

Ok, this one is for the women. Ladies, at BBQ fest, there are no four letter words. Four letter words include but are not limited to the following:
Ok, I'm kidding. And I totally stole that joke. But ladies, if you are going to BBQ Fest, don't put up the "bitch shield" please. We are cool and are all having fun. This is BBQ Fest. We don't have any room for your ego inside these 'small' tents.

Rule 11: Wear sunscreen

People bump into each other. If you are there during the day, you need to put on sunscreen. Otherwise you're going to be in a lot of pain all day and night.

Rule 12: If you are sketchy and drunk, don't dance on the bar. For the love of humanity, please don't dance on the bar!

Two years ago, I was with a group and one of the guys had a friend with a team nearby. We went in and had a few beers and jello shots. They had a bar built in a U shape. On each of the three sides, there was a stripper pole built into the top of the bar. There were these hot drunk girls dancing. One of the girls obviously brought the ugly friend. Well the ugly friend had gotten a hold of a few too many jello shots, obviously. The ugly friend wanted attention, so she had her friend and several people lift her drunk ass up on the bar. Let's take a brief pause to memorize this formula:

Drunk girl craving attention + too many Jello shots + dancing on bar + beer and liquor spilt all over top of bar = funny ass fall

That's right, she fell and busted her ass. I heard through the gossip telegraph in the crowd that she ripped one of the following items: her skirt, her shirt, and/or her panties. That makes for a semi-funny story. An embarassing story for her, but a semi-funny one for us.

Rule 13: finally, HAVE FUN!!!

This should go without saying, but you need to have some fun. You've worked hard and have had a lot to deal with in your life. So go have some fun. If you see me, say hi, but at least remind me how we know each other. If you're just a reader whom I've never met, let me know.

Rule 14 (added in 2007): remember things change from year to year.

Between BBQ Fest in 2005 and in 2006, the tent I attended with the best party/crowd changed. I won't say who went from first to last. That won't be fair, and I'd probably be banned. But the team that had the ridiculous crowd that was wild in '05 was tame in '06 (plus a few people I was trying to avoid showed up there). Turns out other teams were twice as crazy and fun, but I missed part of it because I was waiting at another tent waiting to capture the magic again from the previous year.

Anyhoo, I hope this has helped. Have a great BBQ Fest and be sure to get some on ya!


Sad Day...Raiford's is closed

I know I've been missing a lot of posting potential, but I saw this on two other Memphis blogs. Raiford's has closed. Check out the story on Downtown Paul's and CA Mark's. This is an end to a Memphis landmark. In honor of our collective mourning I'll tell my favorite Raiford's experience:

I was home from college one summer. My buddy DP came over and I cooked steaks. We had a bunch of beers and decided that we needed to head out for the night. We grabbed a six pack to last until we got downtown. We went to Ernestine & Hazels for a few hours. After a bunch of beers, I got a call that some friends were "probably" heading to Raiford's. So we jumped in the car and headed there. We walked in and grabbed our 40's.
My back was to the dance floor as I took my first sip. I felt a woman's hand grab my hand and pull me to the dance floor. I handed DP my beer and said adios. When we got to the dance floor I realized through the clouds of smoke and my beer goggles that it was my friend's mother. She's a good family friend also so I knew I wasn't going to be in trouble. We danced for a song or two when all of a sudden she looked me in the eyes and grabbed my shoulders. I had no idea what was about to happen as she spun me around to face the walkway coming up the dance floor. As I regained my balance I saw a man coming straight at me with his fist clenched and pulled back in order to punch me in the face. He saw who I was, and I realized who he was - her husband, my friend's father. His fist dropped, and he stuck out his hand to shake mine. We said our hellos and then he said to get back to dancing with his wife so I didn't have to.
I danced a few more songs and then went back to find DP. My other friends never showed up so we decided to head back to E&H. The problem was DP drank both his 40 and mine while I was dancing. No big deal. When we got to E&H, I ordered two soul burgers. DP excused himself to go to the bathroom. I drank and chatted the folks around us. After the soul burgers arrived, I wolfed mine down and looked around for DP. I couldn't find him anywhere until I looked outside. He was sitting on the sidewalk making sure E&H's wall didn't fall down. I put his burger in front of him, but he did feel like eating (or staying upright). Now in all fairness we were both beyond fitshaced. But we had to get home. As I was the more sober one I ate his burger to coat my stomach in a little grease. I drover us home and called it a night. Probably shouldn't have driven, but I was young, stupid, and in college.

That's my favorite Raiford's memory. Unfortunately there are hardly any great memories from Raiford's. Most involved drunken stupidity...either on my part or someone else's. I had a chance to go three weeks ago and I passed it up. Kinda wish I hadn't, but it's too late now.

Anyone know if he'll reopen elsewhere?
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