In March of 2008, I became a Certified Barbeque Judge (CBJ) with the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). Later in July, I rolled in to Waterloo, Iowa to judge my first competition at the BBQ'Loo and Blues, Too! It was at this contest when I first met fellow BBQ judge Dave Compton, who literally became my Ambassador to competition barbeque.
Dave's hospitality and his eagerness to help me out as a BBQ judge made me feel at home immediately. The more we talked about BBQ and judging, the more informed I became and the more comfortable I felt about the whole process. Dave provided a warm welcome to the sport.
BBQ'Loo was located in Lincoln Park, a little town square in downtown Waterloo. BBQ teams lined up on all four sides. It was here that Dave's hospitality shined when he gave me the grand tour. We walked the square and he introduced me to each and every BBQ team. This would be the start of a life-long friendship. It was clear, even at this early juncture, that Dave was admired by all.
Plowboys BBQ Pitmaster, Todd Michael Johns, said in a recent social media post that Dave Compton was "the most universally loved person in BBQ." Todd nailed it.
I always looked forward to seeing Dave and his wife, Erma at contests (he loved her like no other and she passed prior Dave). Dave Compton was a jovial character with a quick wit and his love for people (and BBQ) was evident in his demeanor. You could not help but have a good time when Dave Compton was around. On Fridays, the day before competition, he would walk from team to team pulling a wheeled cooler filled with beer and smoked cheese, always willing to share. He smoked his own cheeses and brought blocks of it to competitions for judges and cooks to enjoy. When I arrived at a BBQ contest, the first thing I looked for was Dave and his smoked cheese. So delicious!
I remember one time I walked up to Dave, as he was slicing into a block of cheese, and I asked, "Are you done cutt'n the cheese yet, Dave?" He replied, "In more ways than one, Herbie. Straight outta Compton!" - and his deep hearty laugh would follow.
Watch Dave Make Smoked Cheese!
Dave had a penchant for uniting judges and cooks at Friday potlucks, a common theme in his blogs. He wanted everyone to get along and have fun in this sport. Dave (user name Rookie48 and also known as Judge #6) wrote about his favorite online community called The BBQ Brethren. By the end of 2011, Dave announced his run for the KCBS Board of Directors and he won. He served on committees for philanthropy, and the Rules Committee.
In 2013, Dave Compton and I conducted a KCBS Certified BBQ Judges Roundtable Discussion at the Iowa Barbeque Society banquet. We displayed the BBQ Critic website on a large projection screen and discussed BBQ boxes involving a myriad of topics. It was a fun time. Cherished memories.
When Dave judged his 30th contest April 3, 2010 (a qualifier to become a Master BBQ Judge), he was given a special plaque from Smokin' On Big Creek BBQ competition (Pleasant Hill, MO). My favorite is when Dave judged his 100th contest at the Kiwanis BBQ Contest (Nevada, Iowa) August 24th, 2013. My good friends Francis and Christine Dutton (Smokin Bonz BBQ) gave Dave a special wood plaque congratulating him on his achievement.
Dave pointed out, "I started this journey when a buddy of mine by the name of John Parks (Q'n for Fun BBQ Team), who was a Master CBJ even way back then, invited me to a comp that he was cooking in State Center, Iowa....After I had helped (?) out at 2 or 3 comps I took the CBJ class at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa that was taught by Mike & Theresa Lake."
THE DAVE COMPTON AWARD
DAVE COMPTON SCHOLARSHIP
Donations may be sent to:
2519 Madison AVE. Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64108
Check memo line should read: Compton Scholarship
Call 800-963-5227 to donate via credit card
The KCBS Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization. All Donations are Tax-deductible