The Main Event-One Day Gone

By Keith Fisher

After the first day, It appears that I was right. What a horse race it has been. Some of the teams I mentioned didn’t make it through to the finals. Everyone cooked High quality foods. Following, is a list of those who made it through, and will be competing on Saturday.

Wil and Jen Ward
Patti Stinnett and Kathy Nickerson
Steve and Natalie Wilson
Omar Alvarez and Alan Johnson
Rex and Laura McKee

I spent most of the day floating, from team to team. The dishes and techniques were all, top notch. It’s heartbreaking to come back year after year, then have to sit it out. I hope nobody takes it to heart.

A few years back, with the increase in number of cook offs and inflated numbers of competitors, a recipe contest was instilled as the solution. I don’t remember the details, but we didn’t qualify. We felt bitter, but it really hurt, to hear our friends ask why we weren’t competing. “We didn’t qualify,” was all we could say.

We came back the next year, and won the championship.

Yes it is subjective. As I told my good friend last night, Sometimes its not a matter of what you did right, or wrong. Judging is subjective. Every year, cooks put everything into what they make. Sometimes it’s the best they can do. They rip their hearts out, and either someone cooks something that wows the judges, or a judge is overwhelmed and just can’t choose.

It’s next to impossible to predict what judges will like. I’ve seen the very same dishes take last place in a cook off then, take first place in another cook off. It was the same dish, cooked the same way, by the same team, different judges. I’ve also seen field judges stress a rule more sternly than other judges do. Keep in mind, judges do the best they can, and you are not always going to agree with them.

So, why bother, when it’s so subjective? Well, why do figure skaters, skate? Dutch oven cooking competition gets into your blood. The family of friends you develop, the thrill of hitting the mark of perfection, the elation of a real fan base. These are all reasons, but the major reason: It’s fun. In 2005, We were tired of the work of it all. The loading & unloading. Setting up & taking down, subjective judges, and I’d just taken a job that required I work weekends.

We decided to make it fun. For the first time, I went in the hospitality suite. We relaxed. I achieved a goal that day. I’d been trying to perfect a meat recipe, any meat recipe since I started. It turned out perfect, and I was thrilled. Even with the meat, it was a huge shock when we won.

I know I’ve given a lot of personal references, but since I started writing these articles, I’ve been re-living. In today’s line-up, there is another horse race. It’s all leading up to the main event on Saturday. Will my heart take the stress? Hope to see you there. Come and shake my hand.

Tomorrow, I’ll have a little bit of an interview with a field Judge.
I'll have more pictures to show you later. in the meantime, here's some links to others.

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