Discovering the Brisket Field of Dreams in Glendive

Sunday, October 6, 2019
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Dino Dave’s Adventures

When I was a boy, I would stare at my Michael Jordan poster on the wall then practice my dunks on the nerf hoop dreaming of one day playing in the NBA. During the long summer days, I would pretend I was Dale Murphy by hitting the ball with the sweet spot of that red wiffleball bat. You know, that same sweet spot that doesn’t hurt when hitting yourself in the head over and over (every kid who grew up with a red wiffleball bat knows exactly what I am talking about). And don’t forget about scrunching up a Nerf football under water at a swimming pool, while your friend, who wanted to be Lynn Swann instead caught an 8-pound waterlogged bowling ball to the head. Still, no matter the sport, to be a professional athlete is every young man’s dream. Sadly, today my dreams of dunking basketballs have been replaced with only dreams of dunking donuts.

I also forget everything. Sometimes, I like to give the drive-through my money then drive off without my food. I also give the bank checks to cash and drive off without the money like a reverse bank robbery. My brother won’t let me forget the time I forgot to turn into Wal-Mart three times in a row. I even once called a company called Focus Factor, but they put me on hold! I lost focus and hung up. Five years ago, my brother gave me a bottle of Focus Factor for Christmas for my memory. It’s hardly used because I can never remember to take my memory pill in the morning.

I blame all these true stories on my childhood professional athletic dreams. Too many red wiffleball bats and waterlogged Nerf footballs to the head. Langston Hughes, whoever he is, said “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a brokenwinged bird that cannot fly”. My point is, my dreams of becoming a professional athlete were all extinguished. But then, this weekend, something magical happened. It was like a Disney movie. I may as well have been visited by a little Tinkerbell, only this fairy would have been called Dinnerbell. I attended the Barbeque in the Badlands for the first time and it knocked my pro athlete dreams back into me like a red wiffleball bat!

I struck up a conversation with one of the professional barbeque athletes who travelled to Glendive all the way from Salt Lake City. He explained to me the process of becoming a pit master pro. First, there is a “Backyard” BBQ circuit. Once you get your “chops” in and win a couple “Backyard” events, then you can enter the pro events.

“Wow!” I thought, “That means this guy is a professional athlete! Even better, he is in a sport where you can go straight from my backyard to the pros. Just like I tried to do with my wiffleball skills!”

I don’t know if he noticed the brisket in my eyes, but they drizzled with glory. The smoky aromas then wafted me from pit master to pit master. Whether it was a spatula to brisket or a graceful Federer’s racket to a tennis ball I could not tell. I didn’t realize I was surrounded by so many athletes. It was a bit intimidating, they all looked like they trained for years. Just look how they all changed their six-pack abs to a keg. I think a “dad bod” was the ideal physique of the best pit masters.

Then, as I was salivating over some pulled pork, a pit master said to me “I would tell you a meat joke, but I would butcher it!” It was worse than I thought, that was at least a two-kid dad joke and I was right, he had three. I’ve got some work to do. “That was “well-done”!” I replied. Just to get a reaction, I then asked him what he thought of all those plantbased impossible burgers these fast food restaurants are doing? Without missing a beat, he shot back, “I got no beef with them.” Touché, this guy was good.

My mind began to wonder about professional pit masters. Do they have their own trading cards? Perhaps if they were stained with BBQ sauce they would increase in value? Do they test their cows for steroids? What’s the penalty for using ketchup? Judging by the length of brewery lines, I bet all their “draft” picks are at least 7 rounds. Who would they have for halftime entertainment at the Pro Barbeque Superbowl? “Wings?”, “Eddie Rabbit?”, “Meat Loaf?” Ahh…..the dad jokes are already coming. Like all dreams, it’s going to take hard work, determination and practice but I think I have a chance in this sport. I may be the Michael Jordan of Barbeque and not even know it. Who knows, in a couple years, you may see me at your next professional BBQ event. Just look for the grill that is shaped like a red wiffleball bat.

Dave Fuqua is a Glendive native. You can find out more about him at dinodaveadventures.com . He can be reached at Makoshikadave@gmail.

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