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Western Days a chance to show off BBQ shack

By KBell
Oct. 16, 2010 at 5:16 a.m.

Lindsey Byrns, 18, prepares a paint palette in front of a large coloring sheet sponsored by the Leo Club of Yorktown High School. Club members worked the coloring station, helping kids paint a western scene with vibrant colors.

YORKTOWN - Past the gun fights, beyond the beer stands and barbecue smoke and just next to the Muttin Bustin' competition, was "the shack."

But this wasn't your grandmother's shack.

The 10-foot by 30-foot building - complete with a flat screen TV, live music entertainment, a trough full of beer and even an air conditioner - stood out among the other campsites at the Western Days festival Saturday.

A neon sign and old Texas license plates advertised the shack's proud owners, "Wild B&B."

Shannon Blaschke and Marcus Byars debuted their sprawling compound in 2003, after attending the festival's cook-off the year before in a much less show-stopping way.

"The year we started barbecuing, we seasoned everything on the back of a pick-up," Blaschke said.

"All we had was a tailgate. We had nada," Byars added.

The Yoakum men, who have been friends more than 20 years, were sitting around one night when Byars said, "We oughta build something."

With a pick-up and a vision, they went to a landfill and loaded up each piece of scrap wood that holds up their shack, which is now a shrine to the showmanship and barbecue awards they've since won.

"The wood was stacked up over the cab of the truck," Byars said of the landfill find. "We laughed and laughed all the way out of the Yoakum dump."

The shack itself takes about two hours to put together in 4-by-8 folding sections. But the decorations - the awards, signs, and "command center" electronics - take four people more than eight hours to set up.

"You can't get much more than this for our level of income," Byars said. "This is pimp for us."

Given the elaborateness of the operation, Wild B&B only attend a few festivals each year. But they always come to Western Days.

"It's a small town. Your kids can run around, and you don't have to worry about them as much," Byars said about the reason he likes the festival. "It's just a nice, small event."

For Blaschke, it's all about the glory.

"It's the best cook-off in the area. They give out great awards," he said, gesturing to a ledge full of trophies the duo won at previous Western Days. Another sign on the shack says, "Git-R-Won."

First or last place, though, Blaschke said Western Days is a good opportunity to hang out with friends and family and see other cooks from around the area.

With a crowd wearing bright "Wild B&B" T-shirts and stickers surrounding them, the men tended to grills stuffed with chicken and ribs and a rotisserie boasting a whole wild hog.

"We tell people it's a chupacabra," Blaschke joked.

The Wild B&B attraction will be back next year, but as for how they plan on continuing to take their shack to the next level, Byars just shrugged.

"It's confidential," he finally said with a laugh. "We have something in mind, but we can't say."



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