I'm from Memphis, and a wonderful memory is walking down to Tom Lee Park and smelling that wonderful smoke.
Most teams are now corporatate, FedEx, Sherring Plough, Morgan Keegan and those types of businesses. The entry fee is quite steep to get in ( I just looked it up, according to Wiki and another source, the fee is $60 per entry, plus between $700-$2600 to rent a booth.) and there are other hoops and hurdles involved, it's not quite as simple as getting a couple of beer buddies together and just doing it.
There are several things that turned me off on the BBQ contest. First, unless you are a team member, you cannot go to the area where the contest is (which is in a public tax supported park). I'm sure that family members would have no problem, but the general public isn't allowed there, which smacks to me as being elitist.
Second, They are not allowed to sell or give away their food. (which makes sense since unless you are a member of a team, they don't want you back there anyway) There are some vendors right outside, but good BBQ can't be found Downtown. (Roundevous is kick ass, but a tourist hole and their BBQ style is not really Memphis style) Downtown itself is a dump outside the Peabody and the ball park. I would not under any circumstances walk around there at night with my wife.
The BBQ contest will consist of mainly corporate hacks who will spend the weekend eating, belching, farting, drinking all sorts of alcohol to dull the senses of a mundane life. Memphis is like an elephant fart. if you are an elephant, and you have been around that smell for a lifetime, it does not bother you. However, if you were sent in there, you can smell it and would hate it.
Memphis has a lot of ghetto people who flock to events where humans are and try to take advantage of people. MOstly beggars and hustlers, crackheads or 40 ounce juice people. Since this is such a huge event, the city tries to keep the ghetto people to a minimum, but since Memphis is mostly a ghetto, this is hard to accomplish.
The problem with Memphis and May and this contest is that there will be tens of thousands of people down there, a lot of them intoxicated. During these festivals, open containers are quasi-legal, there are just too many people and too little cops. One year (drunk) I climbed on the shoulders of the Elvis statue on Beale Street. Speaking of Beale Street, the bars there suck and are totally expensive. Do not wander off Beale Street, especially towards the south. GHETTO with many tranny hookers (Vance St.).
So, corporate fatheads, rednecks, drunks, crackhead beggar bums, a city that resembles The Congo and lame nightspots on Beale Street charging outrageous prices to the out of towner. Our trannies are sensational though.
<message edited by senor boogie woogie on Thu, 01/27/11 4:41 AM>