More than fish to be found at bass tourney

As the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship has shown over the years, the secret to running a successful tournament is to provide plenty of off-water activities to keep the crowds interested until weigh-in time.
The recently concluded International Falls Bass Championship was quick to pick up that lesson and reaped the results as a consequence.
Smokey Bear Park was a beehive of activity all day Friday and Saturday with the usual beer garden and vendors of every description, but there was one place you couldn’t miss unless you had a head cold.
Amidst the myriad of aromas and sounds, the unmistakable scent of barbecued pork seemed to rise above the rest like a beacon on a foggy night.
For those who found their way to the southeast corner of the park, Kyle Wheatley of Bemidji had something special.
Dubbed Wheat’s Wicked BBQ, Wheatley’s setup consisted of a huge drum in which he was slow-cooking ribs and pork butts that were a thing to behold.
Wheatley uses a special offset charcoal burner to provide indirect heat to seal in the juices and keep the meat tender. The setup also doubles as a smoker by merely shutting off the vents and allowing the temperature to drop. He says it takes three-four hours at 240-280 F to prepare his masterpieces, to which he adds his “secret” barbecue sauce.
If you weren’t there, you missed what was one of the best culinary experiences to be had in Borderland.
Look for him at next year’s International Falls Bass Championship.

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