Dale wins first in chicken at BBQ

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Andy Millard called out the first place winner of the chicken category there was loud applause at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival on Saturday.

After all, the winning cooker operates a restaurant just 400 yards from where the awards were being announced.

Millard kept saying Paul Dale&squo;s name for several moments. Getting no response from Dale, Millard finally had to move on to the next category.

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Dale, busy working his Foothills Mountain Bar-B-Que booth while the awards ceremony was going on, did not hear his name being called.

&dquo;I didn&squo;t think I was going to win,&dquo; he said.

When he found out, through a phone call from friend and Mountain View BBQ owner Shane Blackwell, Dale rushed to the awards ceremony, arriving as it was concluding.

It didn&squo;t matter that he was late, Dale said ‐ he was happy.

This was Dale&squo;s twelfth year in the festival and thirteenth year overall cooking barbecue.

It was the second time that he&squo;d won first prize in the Chicken category.&bsp; This time, however, he was surprised.

Dale, a certified judge, tasted his chicken and allowed others to taste it beforehand. The consensus was that he&squo;d cooked better chicken before, he said.

Nonetheless, the judges loved his chicken and gave it the top prize in the category.

Dale, a Columbus resident, currently is operating his restaurant in the concession stand at Harmon Field. His restaurant has been open for nine months.