I suppose the nearly 60 teams that competed in the Jacksonville Backyard BBQ Championships were thrilled with the opportunity of winning the title of Grand Champion and all of the rights and privileges thereto appertaining. As a celebrity stalker, however, I was excited for the chance to mix and mingle with local politicians, TV personalities, pro athletes and chefs, not to mention, shovel delicious barbecued meats down my gullet.
Since it was a blind tasting, I can’t really give you my opinion of the winners in each discipline seeing as that I don’t know whose food was whose. But I can tell you the who’s who of barbecue judges…
This year’s judges included State Attorney Angela Corey, Duval County Tax Collector Michael Corrigan, The Morning Show anchor and consumer reporter Nikki Kimbleton and meteorologist Rebecca Barry of WJXT Channel 4, Steve Sutton of 99.9 Gator Country, the very tardy First Coast News reporter Ken Amaro (and “I’m Telling Ken” it’s not polite to show up an hour late for an event you are asked to participate in), former PGA player and TV broadcaster Steve Melnyk, and Jaguars players DE Aaron Morgan, OT Daniel Baldridge (I’ll save you the Google search: He’s 6’8″) and DT D’Anthony Smith.
Given Corey‘s recent attention in the national spotlight, I wasn’t expecting her to participate as advertised, but there she was chowing down on chicken, pork and ribs with some of the Jags players (which is more than we can say for Sheriff John Rutherford and Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore, who chickened out—literally). Corey may be “one of Florida’s toughest prosecutors” (according to the New York Daily News), but she couldn’t have been any nicer to this celebrity stalker.
Special note to Cole: I had great time! Your team was fabulous, and the food was amazing. Feel free to invite me to any other carnivorous judging events in the future.