Rick, Tyrel and Justin Hamilton were thrilled just to be competing in the American Royal and the Jack Daniels BBQ competitions last month.
The trio’s grand champion win at last summer’s Montana BBQ Cook-Off in Absarokee qualified them to compete in two of the biggest BBQ competitions there are in the county – the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City and the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational in Lynchburg, Tenn.
“The Jack” is like the Master’s Tournament in golf, said Tyrel Hamilton. Along with brother Justin and father Rick, the team placed seventh out of 96 teams in pork. But that was nothing compared to what laid in store.
Fast forward to the next weekend in Kansas, described by Justin as “the ultimate tailgate.”
At one of the biggest competitions in the country and against 557 other teams from around the world, Montana Outlaw BBQ took second place – reserve grand champion – at the Royal open division.
Even more amazing is that the trio fell just six points shy of walking away with the grand championship.
The team’s goal had been to place in the top 100.
“Unbelievable,” said Justin Hamilton recently, shaking his head and wearing a constant smile.
The team had already headed home, wanting to beat traffic out of the Kansas Motor Speedway infield where the event was held, unaware of its achievement. Listening to the results on a live Facebook stream, they were surprised to hear their results – 13th in chicken, 12th in brisket and fifth in pork. Not realizing the magnitude of what those placements meant, the team hoped for a Top-20 overall placement.
Despite phone calls from a judge and a mentor asking them where they were, the team had no idea what was in store. And then its name was called.
“I just kinda threw the phone,” said Tyrel. “I was running all over the motor home.”
Rick Hamilton concurred.
“It was pretty amazing,” said Rick.
The trio would later learn it was one of just two teams to place in three of the four categories – chicken, brisket, ribs and pork. And in all three, they were within five points of a perfect score of 180. Montana Outlaw BBQ is the only team in the northwest region to score as high as it did. It also sits as the 23rd out of 2,750 teams in the nation that have been in 10 competitions.
The Hamiltons are quick to thank their families for supporting them, as well as the community which has cheered them on through Facebook as well as helped them financially through sales from the Big Fat Lunchbox food trailer located next to the Ace Hardware, which is owned and operated by the Hamilton family.
As a token of appreciation the public is invited to Ace for a free BBQ lunch on Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.