I’ve made a note here: huge success. Truly, it’s hard to overstate my satisfaction. It’s no lie that the TR BBQ was already four years old when the song I’m copping those words from was unleashed upon the world. In fact, the very first BBQ that I hosted happened the same year that Portal came out. That’s sort of blowing my mind right now.
However you reflect, we’ve done it again. I didn’t get an official count, but attendance was high this year with plenty of returning regulars and lots of new friends tagging along. The nearly flawless weather we’ve enjoyed at every BBQ made a reappearance on Saturday and everything just went right from there. The only hitch I’m aware of was some idiot not buying enough paper plates for everyone.
Without further ado, let me share some imagery of the festivities, starting with this behind the scenes time lapse that begins at 4:30 AM when we kick off rib cookery. Sadly for you, the secret recipe isn’t revealed.
Next up, we have an image from the Friday night before the BBQ. We had quite a nice time with the folks who arrived in town early and joined us for some pizza. The evening also included some Cornhole practice rounds and even a rescue mission of sorts. JBI had a bit of car trouble on his way to Holland so Ned valiantly took off on a five-hour round trip to go collect him (what’s another 225 miles when your round-trip to the BBQ is already 2,000?). Thankfully, it turned out that Nathan was only about 45 minutes from JBI’s location, quite the coincidence for having hit the road over eight hours earlier. JBI got his car moving again and caught up with Nathan so they could caravan the rest of the way to Holland. Ned was recalled from his journey and all was well by about 11:00. Go team!
Of course, BBQ morning started with zgirl firing up the charcoal with a flamethrower. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like that spectacle to wake you up in the morning. The noise in particular is a startling contrast to the quiet stillness of the predawn lakeside. BBQ morning brought with it the discovery of a strange “heat bubble” on the property. The kids and I discovered a threshold in the yard with a remarkably well-defined boundary between chilly dry air and warm humid air. You could literally cross though the side of the bubble with just a few steps. It was extremely weird and surprisingly entertaining.
The TR BBQ kicks into high gear a full eight hours after the ribs start cooking. The scene below typifies the day. Various circles of chairs coalesce and the topics of discussion in those circles tend to align closely with the content in TR’s most popular forum threads. This is the heart and soul of the BBQ, internet friends from all over the country taking the time to hang out in so-called RL. Let me tell you something though, a face to face gathering like the TR BBQ is all the proof I need that online communities like TR are every bit as “RL” as RL. I’m biased of course, but still confident that anyone from our online community would find themselves at home among the attendees of our annual shindig.
No TR BBQ would be complete without the Cornhole tournament. After fighting through some bracket wonkiness, we ended up with 32 players in the adult bracket and eight players in the kid’s bracket. I got taken out in the first round in a tight 21 to 19 match that ended up being the best game I played in all weekend. The power of quad-board processing means that the tourney runs buttery smooth once it’s fired up and the bracket quickly condensed to the most impressive players.
The final battle came down to a husband and wife match up. JSmitty and his wife have been BBQ regulars for years and JSmitty has made regular appearances on the podium. This year was no exception for him. However, his wife surprised everyone, maybe even herself, by slaying all her rivals until losing to her husband in the final round. We better start practicing if we want to take out this power couple next year.
We ran a couple extra matches to determine 5th and 6th place since we had six prizes to give away this year. All the prizes were donated from deep within the Tech Report vaults. I didn’t catch the exact model numbers, but the list consisted of an EVGA X299 motherboard, an EVGA Z370 motherboard, 16GB of RGB Aorus DDR-3200 RAM, an MSI X470 motherboard, a Gigabyte RTX 2070, and an Asus Lyra mesh networking kit. That’s a pretty solid selection and there was little hesitation as the winners picked their prizes.
To fulfill our group photo quota, I present the image below. As is tradition after the tournament is over and the trophies are in hand, we gather up most of the attendees to commemorate the day as only a staged photo can. There are at least a dozen people missing from this photo, probably because we couldn’t convince a bunch of the kids to get out of the bounce castle and because more than a few adults were busy “supervising” them. I can’t say I blame them, that thing was awesome. Thanks again to DragonDaddyBear for sponsoring it!
Next up was a surprise that everyone had in store for me. SHOES organized the collection of donations and you amazing people bought me an incredibly awesome gift. I’m the proud new owner of a huge terrarium, along with a matching stand and enough leftover cash to outfit it with lighting, heating, filtering, and everything else it needs. Not gonna lie, it brought me to tears for the little bit. Thank you all so much. I’ll be sure to post updates about what I put into in as soon as my rapidly forming plan starts to be implemented. All I’m going to say for now is that I like turtles.
That’s a wrap
My photographic documentation of the BBQ ends there. I expect others will share their photos in the BBQ thread soon, though. For now, that leaves me no choice but to present this Moto photo as a stand in for events that I didn’t capture, like the purported dance party on the “beer deck” that I apparently just missed out on and the Sunday morning breakfast feast that my amazing mom has turned into her own tradition for everyone who sticks around beyond Saturday night (the breakfast and some other gems are in the video at the top of this post, though).
I’ll conclude with a heartfelt thank you to everyone that continues to make this event a huge success, you are the best attendees an organizer could hope for. I hope to see you all, and new faces too, next year.