Monday, March 24, 2014

NHC Austin Entry Sorting Done

Out of bed at 7:30 A.M., final prep before hitting the road, brief stop at Starbucks to fuel up and then met (George) Stuart West, my partner in crime, at the judging site. After a bit of a slow start with time taken up assembling boxes for organizing the flights and a last minute run to Office Depot for some overlooked supplies, volunteers started to arrive, Pam Bradley being the first. Rogness owner and host, Forrest Rogness, was kind enough to come and help us attempt to sort out the Wi-Fi situation, but instead it was Stuart's mobile to the rescue. Soon after Ed Kuhn and Edward Peters also appeared. After taking some time trying various schemes, we finally settled in on a flow that worked. Entries had to be hauled out of the cold room, unboxed, unpackaged, and then lined up for entry into the brewing competition software used for the competition. Once entries had been validated for payment, separate judging numbers were applied in order to facilitate organizing the beers into flights at or closer to judging weekend.

The five of us labored on - and I mean labored - each rotating through the different jobs of unpacking, judging number labeling, data entry, and running the entries to their respective category boxes. Let me tell you it was exhausting work with so few volunteers. Early into the afternoon, I received a text message from Dan Dewberry, he and Joelle and Jonathan Luers on their way back to Austin from Bluebonnet in Dallas. Did I need more help? Of course! Later in the afternoon, the three of them arrived, and a good thing they did. Fatigue approaching, food was in order and pizza was readily ordered. After this short respite, it was back to work. And the unpacking, labeling, data entry, and running kept on going, and going, and going...

And on it went until nearly 8:00 P.M., making a 12 hour day for Stuart and I and nearly as long for all the rest. The Bluebonnet crew were special troopers, having come from a weekend of merriment and then driving possible THE worst trip in the U.S. - the Dallas to Austin trek - but they hung in there and it's a good thing or the rest of us might still be there now. :-) I will readily admit, I was completely exhausted but I'm confident it was all worth it. Learned a lot as well in case I'm involved in future competition organization.

Here's a wee look at some of the aftermath too. Certainly creates a lot of dross, but we are attempting to reuse or recycle as much as possible.

So, entires being sorted, now comes game time. A final (hopefully) appeal for judges and stewards will be issued via email mid-week. I sincerely appreciate each and every judge/steward that can attend this coming weekend. One final note, Janis Gross, the American Homebrewers Association NHC Competition Coordinator will be joining us in Austin for the weekend. Let's make Austin shine.

Yours Aye!

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