Our Report of the Competition in Medvode
A road exiting a roundabout in Medvode, a small town close to the capital of Ljubljana, is gradually narrowing until it disappears into a curve hidden by lush vegetation, and then suddenly reopens on a bright green space. A wide lawn of dense, perfectly shaved grass ends its gentle decline on the shores of Lake Zbilje, from which the elegant candor of swans swimming slowly appears. A vaguely Indian style trellis that serves as a pass through the fence around it, shows a banner with the name of the Wild West Fest, confirming that we have reached our destination. Suddenly the reason for the “Wild West” name is clearer: an enclosure with horses, a mechanical bull, wooden logs placed as a stool around a fire and a country dance track flanked by the usual stands of t-shirts, sauces and souvenirs and the inevitable streetfood gazebos and craft beer, served as a front page to the competition field, with the teams positioned in an airy “U” shaped layout. Just behind the camp, you can see the excellent pizzeria/brewery/cafeteria that hosted our lunches and our weekend dinners to define the contours of a picture made even more beautiful by a splendid weather that has rightly rewarded the organizational efforts of Milan Stjepanović and the Slovenian BBQ Society.
The Wild West Fest proved to be a great success, both about organization and public, and it was really nice to be part of it. From a sporting point of view it was one of those “fiddly” competitions: 21 teams participating, so not a very big one but with all rather hard names, in a good shape moment or with numerous victories behind. It ‘one of those extremely leveled competitions we’re meeting more and more often, in which finishing in the first places or mid-ranking is a matter of a handful of points more or less. It is even greater then the satisfaction of having brought home a 2nd place Ribs, a 1st Pork and a 1st Brisket who gave us our second Reserve Grand Champion of the season, moreover in a row. Unfortunately, a mistake on the chicken has penalized us a lot to confirm that in a so leveled competition you can not even afford a smudge. We are very happy that if we could not be the Grand Champion, this title went to ours friends Friuli Violent Grillers, good guys who represent the new national barbecue lever and who celebrate in the best way their recent draw to participate in the Jack Daniels Invitational 2018, in addition to having earned the first seasonal token for the 2019 edition. Congratulations guys!
The last episode to report is a curious bet proposed by the good Faustino when awaiting the awards: “who finishes first in his category will have a bath in Lake Zbilje, if we do Grand Champion all of us will do it and NAKED”. The day ended with an unsuspected swim by Fausto and Cecca. Thinking well about it, I’m almost glad we missed that point and a half ….: D
In conclusion, as usual, we draw the ranking of the best 5 memories that will remain to us from the Wild West Fest 2018.
- Risults. With this competition our saga is enriched with a further new chapter. If you are following us since a while, you know that we like to make fun of a bit of healthy “bummer” that we carry around in sports results: we are always one step away from a goal, which we then lose for slightest things or simply because we run into the “perfect” competition of one of our opponents. Today’s RGC is added to that of BardoQ, which undoubtedly represents an excellent result for which we are delighted. Last April, however, after Bardonecchia we emphasized in a more or less joking way of how a competition of excellent consistency by us with a second, a third, a fourth and a sixth place, generally enough to ensure a first place overall, has been thwarted by a really extraordinary how difficult to achieve performance by the Smoking Bad, able to achieve two first places and a second, relegating us to second place. Well, at the Wild West Fest this time we were to repeat that incredible performance but again it was not enough to win, exceeded for a point and a half by the friends FVG. The bar has risen again: our next goal will necessarily have to be to get first in all four categories. Will it be enough to win? : D
- Pause. Since the team was formed, the pause between the last sustained competition, the one in Bardonecchia in April and the one last weekend in Slovenia, is the longest ever stop: four months that we have necessarily decided to invest in our business main work, with results that have given us great professional satisfaction. The real news, however, that has affected more was that in these four months for the first time the competitive barbecue was completely absent from our thoughts, no training, no planning, no project, not even talking about it. We just would not have had time or mental energy. Simply two weeks before the competition we said “In August there is an event in Slovenia, not far away. Are we free? Ok, let’s go”. It will seem incredible and I would never have said that but when we started again we had difficulty putting the pieces back together: the thousand little gestures and the infinite details that make up a competitive barbecue, which were previously almost automatic and were given for grated, suddenly they were not anymore and it took more time than you can image to get mind in order and to pick up where we left off.
- Deviation. The highway that leads from Gorizia to Lubjana draws a path to form a sort of “U”: go down towards Trieste, then go back to the Slovenian capital. In the day of Friday characterized by long queues due to the summer exodus, the navigator has taken care to get us out of the highway at the top left of the “U” and make us reunite with the opposite vertex, making us cross the space in the middle on urban streets that’s in the middle. Logistically it revealed as a not particularly happy choice, being the route a succession of mountain roads, narrow and full of curves, passing between villages that forced a very low cruising speed. At the moment we were a bit angry but, paradoxically, we finally were very happy it happened: the detour allowed us to see authentic Slovenia at sunset, the more rural one, the small villages, the old houses with the wood stacks being prepared in sight of winter, churches and squares as well as forests and hilly landscapes literally breathtaking. All tidy, clean and maintained with extreme care. Slovenia is really beautiful, I recommend you visit it if you have the chance.
- Sharing. The Wild West Fest was a very special competition for us: known that our friend Angelo Pin from the Brig Boys he was considering the possibility of attending as a judge in Slovenia, we proposed him to join us creating a sort of twinning Brig-tenders. The proposal was greeted with great enthusiasm and I must say that it was a really enjoyable experience for everyone. I often hear the barbecue teams paint as tight guards of their technical secrets and in a small part this can also be true and legitimate: in competitions where everyone prepares the same dishes, with very similar characteristics it is clear that the difference is made by the micro-details and therefore this constitutes a significant value to be protected. The surprising thing (at least for me) of the weekend was how easy this cohabitation has been, probably also due to the beautiful person who is Angelo: we have shown everything we do like an open book, also clarifying some key steps, he even if fully applying our method, on our devices and with our seasoning, on the preparation has intervened in a proactive way by taking much of himself and what has come out is unquestionably interesting for both.
- Cocktails. We do not know how, we do not know why but it happened to us more than once that in a very casual way our competition has been marked by an alcoholic beverage in particular. You must know that in this event we’ve been joined by our friend Mattia, a pleasant and always discreet presence that has had a master idea: he brought with him a folding table and a refrigerated container with everything necessary to shower all of us with cocktails, all weekend long. If at our first BardoQ the cocktail emblem of the competition was the Gin Tonic, tl Brew’n’Q the amazing english cider and at Meat, Smoke and Beer on Ice the Kraken, the cocktail that will always remind me of the Wild West Fest was the CranTonic.
Our fifth season competition ended with lots of fun and a great result. You know now the leitmotiv of this year: we do not know if there will be others in the near future but keep on following us and you will be the first to know 😉