The TR BBQ XV proves that less can be more

The 15th TR BBQ took place this past weekend. As ever, it's good for the soul to escape to the coast of Lake Michigan and hang out with a bunch of folks on the same wavelength.

This year's party proved slightly different than years past, though. Most notably, there was no beach. Water levels at Lake Michigan were much higher than usual this time around, making for a sheer drop from the dunes to the water.

I can't confirm that there were velociraptors prowling the shores of Lake MIchigan, but it was definitely dangerous to try and walk in the waves. As a result, we had fewer kids than usual at this year's event—and no fireworks. A TR BBQ without a fireworks show is like, well, a lake without a beach.

So what's a gaggle of gerbils to do? Even without sandy shores, the weather this year was perfect. Temperatures hovered in the 70s or below for the course of the event, and despite an overcast drive on the way up, the clouds parted as we crossed into Holland, Michigan, making for a perfect summer day on the lake shore. drfish opted for a tent in case rain threated to scuttle the event, but the big top mostly kept the crowd safe from the sun in the cloudless skies.

While I was too busy eating to get pictures, zgirl fed us all with racks of impeccable ribs, just brew it! plied us with two delicious homebrews and tasty spam musubi, and countless other gerbils contributed drinks and sides to make sure nobody went home hungry or thirsty.

TR editor emeritus Scott Wasson put out the call for unique keyboards at the event and brought his own custom Whitefox board with Kailh Speed Bronze switches for the curious to put their rib-greased fingertips all over. drfish brought out his Topre Type Heaven, and Starfalcon brought his space-saving and standard-size IBM Model Ms so that younger hands could get a sense of the classic buckling-spring feel.

Scott also brought a range of switch testers so that folks in attendance could get a sense of the full range of Kailh, Box, and Cherry switches. I went home convinced that I need a board with Kailh Box Jade switches, although it looks like I'll need to plan a custom board with those clickers in order to put them to the test.

With clear skies and dry ground at our disposal, the traditional TR BBQ cornhole tournament kicked off. We had a particularly large bracket this year, as many kids graduated to the adult tournament for the first time.

Josh S. (center) with Henry (left) and Justin (right) from Corsair

After our expansive bracket whittled itself down to the last, Josh S. took home the win for the third time in BBQ history and selected Corsair's Race T2 gaming chair as his spoils.

Gleek took home the second-place spot and selected a combo of Corsair's K63 Wireless keyboard and Dark Core RGB SE mouse as his trophy.

zgirl finished third and grabbed one of Corsair's Dark Core RGB SE mice as her prize.

Ben finished fourth and grabbed Gigabyte's Z370 HD3P motherboard (and a stylin' Corsair tee) to celebrate his victory. A number of junior gerbils also got their pick of the prize haul from the kids' cornhole tournament.

Excelling at cornhole is just one way to win prizes at the TR BBQ, of course. Long-time TR reader and BBQ first-timer Bomber was the big winner in our raffle, and he took home one of Corsair's Obsidian 500D cases with his beginner's luck. We didn't have name tags available this year, so if you showed up for the first time and we didn't get a chance to talk, be sure to make yourself known in the comments.

Seriously, look at this prize haul, folks. With “only” a few dozen people on the beach and routes to victory for both luck and skill, it's more likely than not that you'll go home a winner from the TR BBQ. Our thanks again to Gigabyte and Corsair for providing such an awesome prize haul, and to Justin and Henry from Corsair for showing up in person to help give away the loot.

The hardware swap meet was particularly rich with potential gems this year thanks to Dposcorp and a number of other TR readers. If your tastes run to finely aged CPUs, motherboards, RAM, graphics cards, and even complete systems, there's always something of interest to be found among the classics our swap-meeters dig out for attendees' perusal.

While we didn't cap off the night with rockets' red glare as we usually do, TR reader chubbyhorse made sparks of a different kind fly by offering several folks a ride in his Chevy Bolt EV. If you're at all curious about electric vehicles but haven't ridden in one, don't—it'll make the longing for one that much worse. It's seriously weird (but oh so cool) to fly down the road with nary a sound but wind and tire noise tickling your ears. Thanks again to chubbyhorse for indulging the curious.

By one count, we had over 60 people on site at the peak of the event, and it's always a pleasure to meet and eat with our readers. I was able to borrow a tripod for this group photo thanks to Dposcorp, so this may be the first TR BBQ group photo I've actually appeared in. 

If you've wanted to come to a TR BBQ but have been putting it off in years past, you can't say we don't give you plenty of warning about these things. Make an opening in your 2019 summer plans now and keep an eye out for the first murmurs of BBQ planning next spring.

Next year will be the 16th TR BBQ and 20th anniversary of The Tech Report, and it would give me no greater pleasure than to celebrate that anniversary with drfish and TR readers on the shores of Lake Michigan. Here's hoping it'll be an extra-special event and that you can help us make it that much more so by showing up. Until then, thanks to drfish, zgirl, just brew it!, and all the other TR readers who make this event one to remember year after year.

Comments closed
    • meerkt
    • 1 year ago
    • odizzido
    • 1 year ago

    Just wanted to post that the raptor signs were great 😀

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      Did they catch the velociraptors in the end?

        • drfish
        • 1 year ago

        No. Not ever.

          • Captain Ned
          • 1 year ago

          Tried to take one out with a potato, but all I did was hit one of the cinderblocks. Gleek had said something about being chased around the beach by potatoes, so I whacked the block with one to show him why I wouldn’t do it. After seeing that impact, he saw why I’m careful about downrange safety.

    • Starfalcon
    • 1 year ago

    I guess I got reduced to “others” who brought in the 2 Model M keyboards….

    Oh and thanks to everyone who brought me more old stuff, I was not disappointed this year….although now I have to get my list updated…

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 1 year ago

      Sorry! Lots of beer and lots of people around—thanks for setting me straight 🙂

    • LoneWolf15
    • 1 year ago

    I have to thank you guys and Gigabyte for the K83 (blue-switch) keyboard.

    Not only is it solid, but it annoys the one person in the office who doesn’t particularly like me. I consider that a double-win.

      • just brew it!
      • 1 year ago

      I initially worried about possible complaints from co-workers about my mechanical keyboard (with blue switches). Then the guy in one of the adjacent cubicles brought in a Model M. I stopped worrying at that point.

      (Said co-worker’s Model M died recently, so he’s using something with Cherry blue switches now too.)

        • LoneWolf15
        • 1 year ago

        Said person is halfway across the office. Everyone near me doesn’t care. Personally, I find clicking like this to be pleasant white noise; if the SO is typing in the morning while I’m in bed with her Monoprice Cherry blue, to me it’s like gentle rain coming from her office.

        This is my passive-aggressive win for the week.

    • prb123
    • 1 year ago

    I will try and make it next year.

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 1 year ago

      My annual motto

    • just brew it!
    • 1 year ago

    Oh, and unsurprisingly, I was eliminated in the first round of the bags tourney. A better than average (for me) showing though; I actually managed to get quite a few of the bags into the hole!

    • just brew it!
    • 1 year ago

    I was surprised at how well the Spam musubi went over. I also had a couple of people say “I thought you were joking when you said you were bringing Spam to the BBQ!”

    For those who have never had Spam musubi, Wikipedia has a good description: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_musubi[/url<] My own version has the Spam slices coated with a glaze that incorporates soy sauce, brown sugar, and Sriracha sauce, resulting in a savory/salty/sweet/spicy flavor that I really like. I guess enough other gerbils agreed to make it all disappear.

      • Inkling
      • 1 year ago

      Thank you JBI. I truly enjoyed it. I’d eat this almost any time. 🙂

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 1 year ago

    I called the keyboard fight but Wasson set the stage and took the W before it started.

    • Tom233
    • 1 year ago

    “Josh S” <3

    • BillyBuerger
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<]I went home convinced that I need a board with Kailh Box Jade switches, although it looks like I'll need to plan a custom board with those clickers in order to put them to the test.[/quote<] There are a reasonable number of hot-swappable keyboards out there these days that you no longer have to resort to customs just to try out some switches. There's some expensive ones like the Input.Club K-Type or Massdrop CTRL or cheap ones like the Team Wolf ZhuQue and others. Then just go nuts on NovelKeys buying a bunch of different switches to try out. I finally finished my own custom swappable keyboard recently ('cuz I'm crazy like that) and it's been fun to try out switches that I wouldn't otherwise use. BOX Navy was fun to play with for a week or so but I wouldn't want to do that much longer. BOX Royal is my current switch of choice but I can change my mind any time.

      • just brew it!
      • 1 year ago

      I am seriously considering a Kailh-based keyboard as well.

      In a break with long-standing tradition (I’ve been a die hard full-104-key layout guy since forever), I’m also considering a tenkeyless model, to allow the mouse to be closer to the main keys (for less arm movement). If I do that, I’d still like to have a separate numpad though… and will have to experiment to see whether I prefer the numpad to the left of the main keyboard, above it, or to the right of the mouse.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    Looks like a fun time was had by all. Congrats on another successful event, folks!

    • Dposcorp
    • 1 year ago

    Very nice write up Jeff, but I have a question.

    When I go to the photo gallery below,

    [url<]https://techreport.com/gallery/33850/the-tr-bbq-xv-proves-that-less-can-be-more/103552/group[/url<] I only see 3 pics from the article available, and when I click on "view full size (2560 × 832)", the link takes me here: [url<]https://techreport.com/subscriptions.x[/url<] Is that supposed to happen?

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      Full size view is restricted to subscribers.

      I also only see 3 pictures in the gallery though.

        • Dposcorp
        • 1 year ago

        I guess even though I am a silver subscriber. I am considered part of the “Hoi Polloi.”
        [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B4NFr187xA[/url<]

          • just brew it!
          • 1 year ago

          I can confirm. The gallery indeed seems to be missing most of the images. Full-size image access does indeed require a Gold subscription though.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 1 year ago

    Glad a great time was had by all, and thanks for making it happen!

      • Cuhulin
      • 1 year ago

      It was a fun time, and thanks to everyone who helped to make it happen!

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