TR BBQ X sets records for attendance, epic uses of fire

We had an excellent turnout for the tenth annual TR BBQ on Saturday. I believe the official tally was 60 people attending, with lots of new faces in the crowd this time around. The group picture this year is almost too wide:

There's a larger version in the gallery below, for those who'd like to see Forge giving me bunny ears. Thanks for that, buddy. Let's talk soon about the lifetime ban I have in store for you.

As usual, the BBQ was an amazing opportunity to get to know a fantastic group of people. After an experience like this one, my first reaction is simply to say thanks to everyone who helped make it happen: to DrFish and his family for hosting the event and going above and beyond the call in so many ways, to zgirl for again proving that good BBQ can happen north of the epicenter here in Kansas City, to Shoes for really raising his game for the fireworks display, to Dposcorp for taking many of the pictures and videos you see here, to the new faces for making the effort to try something unknown, to the wives and girlfriends who put up with our constant tech talk, to the good people who helped with clean-up the following day, and to the other folks I've inevitably missed.

Oh, and thanks to Intel, AMD, Gigabyte, and Kingston for providing prizes to give out.

The day was packed, and there's almost too much to cover, but I'll try to provide some highlights. Here's a look at our prize table, before everybody descended upon it and picked it clean. 

Yes, that's a Gigabyte Z87X-OC motherboard. There's a little, black box sitting in front of it holding a Core i7-4770K, and the two were part of the same prize package. We also had couple of Gigabyte mobo-and-AMD-A8-6600K-APU pairings to give out, along with two Kingston HyperX 240GB SSDs and two Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866 memory kits. Oh, and one more A8-6600K by itself.

The lower shelves and the platforms to the sides hold a selection of shirts and older video cards from Damage Labs. I believe almost everybody got to choose a hardware prize and a shirt, although our shirt selection was pretty depleted by the end. We'll have to bring more next year.

The exclusive new "gerbil army" shirts went quickly. You should be seeing more of the secretive gerbil army before too long, although I doubt we'll ever print that exact same design again.

The first three prizes were given to the winners of the baggo/cornhole tournament. In honor of the events of the past year, Dposcorp awesomely decided to record high-speed video of the baggo action. Hit "play" above to go inside the second with our favorite yard game.

After slow-cooking the ribs for all of us, zgirl proceeded to take first place in the baggo tournament, crushing me 24-1 in a stunning and comprehensive second-round non-upset. In a true upset, she then proceeded to choose an SSD upgrade over the 4770K/Z87X-OC combo as her prize. I think that choice was driven by a combination of graciousness, already having a nice CPU and mobo, and somehow not yet having an SSD. I can respect the decision. So did our second-place winner, who rushed urgently to grab the 4770K and Z87 as soon as his turn came to pick.

DrFish had some sweet medals prepared for the baggo winners. Here's the back of the first-place hardware:

Later in the afternoon, Ned produced his potato cannon and began launching russets into the lake. That thing really gets some distance. You can't track the spud from the barrel; it's moving too fast. You just have to look for the splash when it hits.

I think it's safe to say this is the year we got serious about the fireworks display. Shoes reviewed the options on YouTube before buying them, and he chose very well. I'm slightly hard of hearing now, but happier. Yes, that is a laptop firework on the left there. Here's a closer look:

This "laptop" spouted flames from its "keyboard" in multiple spots before launching an impressive pyrotechnic array from the top of the "display." The jokes about Prescott TDPs and battery failures were thick in the air while this puppy did its thing.

Of course, DrFish lit the beach-side bonfire with the flamethrower as always. Takes about 60 seconds to go from nothing to roaring campfire, and the spectacle never ceases to impress.

The bonfire was especially well attended this year. More folks stuck around for it, which worked out well. DrFish's nifty battery-powered arrays of LED lights proved that modern technology can even improve the primal experience of cooking meat over fire. Then again, the clear night and nearly full moon didn't hurt, either.

Thanks again to all involved. I know lots of you will have more stories, pictures, and videos to share in the TR BBQ X forum thread. The BBQ has become one of the true highlights of my year, and in true techie fashion, the latest incarnation was once again the best one yet.

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