|Scottie Johnson of the Cancer Sucks Chicago BBQ is shown in Racine, Wis., with daughters Lexi and Zoe and sister, LizAnne
Scottie Johnson’s cancersuckschicago.com BBQ team was created following the death of his wife, Corliss, who died in 2003 after a battle with the dreaded disease.
With two young daughters to raise, Mr. Johnson attempted to rebound from his devastating loss by raising funds for the Corliss Johnson Memorial Foundation by competing in barbeque competition at events throughout the country.
At the time of Corliss’s death, daughters Lexi and Zoe were two and five. Mr. Johnson knew he had to do something to help combat cancer’s vicious attacks on innocent people all over the country.
After taking time off to regroup following Corliss’s death, the Johnson family began competing in BBQ competition in 2005. For a man whose previous experience consisted of back yard BBQ, Johnson vaulted himself into another level of BBQ competition.
And when the second Smokin’ in Mesquite BBQ competition is presented on Labor Day Weekend in Mesquite Sept. 3-4, Johnson, his two daughters and his sister, LizAnne Johnson, will be working again to raise funds to defeat cancer.
“Our goal is to compete in every state,” Mr. Johnson said. “So far, we have been in 26 states and we should be in as many as 30 by the time we get to Mesquite.
If I can help one person that is fighting this disease, I will have felt that I have succeeded with my cause.”
The Johnson family takes the competition seriously as evidenced by the extensive travel not to mention the fact that the team won the Jack Daniel’s World Championship in Lynchburg, Tenn., in October of 2006.
“The whole reason the BBQ is functioning because of the foundation,” said LizAnne Johnson, who is Scottie’s sister. “It’s encouraging to see the support we have received from all over the country. So many people are affected by cancer that this makes you feel as though you’re making a real difference.
LizAnne Johnson, who is a teacher, competes during breaks in her school year. In the summer when she’s not in school, she is more involved.
“When I’m not in school, that’s when we do most of long-distance traveling,” she said. “Our unofficial title is “The Sea to Shining Sea Tour.”
“We really do some long-distance driving in the RV. It’s our home on wheels.”
Still other very productive stops have included Racine, Wis.; the Winter Olympic Training Facility in Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Rio Rancho, N.M, among others.
With a 31-foot toy hauler motor home including 10 feet of garage space to tote a working kitchen, the family takes its endeavor seriously and winning the World Championship was evidence that the idea was working well.
“So far, we have raised a little more than $150,000” Mr. Johnson says adding that the team participates in Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder, Pork Butt and Beef Brisket competition. “The people are actually one big family and the kids look forward to seeing everyone at each of the events.”
For Mr. Johnson, the trip to Mesquite is a natural. A manager for a law firm, the 47 year-old is an avid golfer and Mesquite’s impressive offering of golf courses provides the ideal getaway.
“I’m going to bring my sticks, for sure,” he said recently. “I watch the Longest Drive Contest on television all the time, so I’m very familiar what Mesquite has to offer when it comes to golf.”
And while he’s taking the golf game seriously, you can bet he and his family will also be taking the BBQ competition very seriously, too.
“We don’t go anywhere without thinking that we can win it all,” Mr. Johnson said adding that the team won’t be in Boulder City because of a prior conflict with dates. “We have a purpose that being to defeat cancer and we’re going to give it all we can.”
The Smokin’ in Mesquite event was landed by Black Gaming Head Chef Bruce Landvik and company sales executive Darrell Edwards. The initial event in 2009 was rated a giant success attracting teams from all over the country.
This year’s event in Mesquite is expected to be even bigger thanks to an agreement secured between Black Gaming Sporting Events Manager Christian Adderson and the Boulder City Rotary Club sponsored Best Dam Barbeque, the competitor with the most combined points will earn the Nevada State Championship along with a check for $3,000 in 2010.
Teams must compete in both the Best Dam BBQ Challenge along with the Smokin in Mesquite BBQ Championship in 2010. Combined overall points will be used from both events to crown the Nevada State Champion. Teams do not have to be from Nevada to be eligible for the overall title.
Both events are being sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
Further information regarding Mesquite competition can be reviewed at www.mesquitebbqchampionship.com or by calling Adderson at 702-346-7529, ext. 6981.
Information regarding the Corliss Johnson Memorial Foundation can be found at www.cancersuckschicago.com.