Bedlam football broke out early in the form of a tailgating final four with the University of Oklahoma firing the first salvo and taking home top prize in the second annual Bedlam Tailgating Showdown.
Wedged between Oklahoma State University's cataclysmic loss to the Cyclones of Iowa State and OU's bitter defeat at the hands of Baylor's Bears, the competition featured four teams. The Two Docs Tailgate prevailed on behalf of the crimson and cream.
Steve Carter and friends unseated defending champion Bart Towne and his OSU posse from Kingfisher — no small achievement.
Big prizes are due big achievement, and that's what Carter and his clan garnered, taking home a portable Primo kamado-style grill from American Propane, a 42-inch flat-screen television from Byford Autogroup of Chickasha and $500 from Homeland grocery stores. The Oklahoma Beef Council also sponsored the event.
American Propane, 7401 N Broadway Extension, again hosted the event. However, this year, four teams competed for the crown. The teams showed a variety of foods and high spirits on a blustery fall afternoon. Cooks showed great skill with grills and skewers. The one dish each team did its own interpretation of was the jalapeno popper, which my old pal Dale Saviers once sagely proclaimed the culinary equivalent of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
Sooner fan Mandy Grove and her family tailgate, which was started many years ago by her parents, made the semifinals. The Groves brought the most consistently tailgate-friendly food and off-the-charts enthusiasm. For their efforts, they took home $100 from Homeland.
OSU fraternity brothers Britton Bradford, Morgan Sanders and Robert Steinkirchner were looking for a unique tailgate truck that would be fun to work on and capable of everything. Mission accomplished. An army surplus Deuce and a half called Agent Orange boasts a 14-foot-by-12-foot party deck, two bars, hot tub and a legion of black-and-orange clad tailgaters. The group is known to roast whole pigs for its regular tailgate, which is the embodiment of going big rather than going home. The group also took home $100 from Homeland.
The Kingfisher crowd was every bit as potent as last year — perhaps more so. The spread that surrounds Towne's hand-built Poke-friendly smoker is truly inspired. Churches from Cimarron County to McCurtain would be proud to have a potluck as well-stocked as the Kingfisher tailgate.
But teams do not win the Bedlam Tailgating Showdown on spread alone.
The semifinalists were evaluated by five judges, who scored each team on food and setup. After that round, the kids from Kingfisher held a slim lead over Two Docs, which made the win even more
For the final round, Park Ribble, director of Perishable Merchandising for Homeland grocery stores, supplied four secret ingredients: strip steaks, flat
In the final analysis, the Two Docs squad made better use of three of the four secret ingredients.
The Kingfisher clan won high marks for stuffing its Portobello mushrooms with the cheesy green beans that gave them the edge in last year's competition. For their gallant title defense, the Kingfisher crowd took home $300 from Homeland.
Carter, who directs a contracting group that works with health plans for the pharmaceutical business AstraZeneca, is chief grill master and menu maker for Two Docs.
“I guess I grew up around men cooking; my grandfather owned a bar and liquor store in Hobart and was a cook in the
“I always remember him cooking when we were at his house. It was passed down to my dad, and he cooked a great deal when he was alive. He passed when I was only 12, and as an only child I learned to fend for myself. I've just always enjoyed cooking and keeping family recipes alive. I built an outdoor kitchen several years ago and really enjoy the escape it provides from work.”
But to unseat the mighty Kingfisher tailgate took teamwork, beginning with the two doctors for which the Two Docs Tailgate is named: orthopedic surgeon Barry Northcutt and cosmetic dentist Kevin Rykard.
Northcutt, who serves as head team physician for the University of Central Oklahoma football team, comes from Hobart stock, too. Carter's wife, Susan, was a member of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band at OU with Rykard.
Steve Carter said his wife, Susan, Jenifer Northcutt and Mary Rykard also play critical roles in the planning, preparation and organization of this well-oiled tailgate, which not only includes great food but custom-made cups, party favors and a mobile unit outfitted with bathrooms and television.
Carter said Rhett's Meat Market, 9300 N May Ave., No. 300, is an integral part of the tailgating team, supplying top-quality beef. Sara Sara Cupcakes, 17 E Fifth St. in Edmond, makes customized desserts for each tailgate.
Now that the smoke from the multiple OU Ruf/Nek shotgun blasts followed by “O-S-U COWBOYS!” calls has cleared, it's time for the football teams to shake off the disappointment of seasons that could've been and play ball.
Last year, OSU took home the tailgating, but OU took the day on the gridiron. Head to Stillwater or tune in Saturday to see if turnabout is fair play — bacon-wrapped foods optional, jalapeno poppers required.