Steve Harnar- Blues, BBQ, and Guitar Throwing

Bar-B-Que and A Guitar Throwing Contest
A Blues Tale from Steve Harnar

First The Bar-B-Que

Yes, yes Bar-b-que. Finally broke down and got me a new smoker, one of them slow cooking things that sits close to the ground and has a big bowl of water over the coals. The first weekend I cooked some hamburgers and a couple of big baking hens. Assembled the Q'er after work and started the coals late afternoon early evening, left the hens on all night and the next morning was pleased to find them still cooking and done but not dry or over cooked.

Last Saturday we decided on brisket and country style pork ribs. I started the fire about mid-morning and placed the brisket on the lower grill with the ribs on the top (it's a two tier contraption). I threw some hickory chips on the coals and we loaded the ice chest and headed down to our friend Banjo Dan's for his "third annual plug-&-play" and "guitar throwing competition." Every year about this time Dan sponsors this little event out in the breeze way beside his music emporium and recording studio here in Hot Springs Arkansas, since most all the local musicians are associated with Dan (many work in the shop) he gets most the local acts to perform.

The highlight of the day is the "guitar throwing contest." Now I'm not big into "guitar throwing" and never even thought about entering the competition until the Blues Society president (and M. C.) approached me pleading (as only Roger can plead) for me to pay the $20 and enter the short field of four other contestants. I was looking at that pretty powder blue guitar they were giving as a prize. I mean, yeah, I win this an amp, learn a couple of blues tunes and I too can be up on stage at the Wednesday night blues jams basking in the limelight with the other jammers. "Okay Roger" I says, "You think I ain't got $20?" I pulled out that last lone twenty and slapped it in the big guy's hand and said, "Sign me up!"

Now it was hot out there in the Arkansas sun and it was only about 4PM...the contest was slated to begin at 6:00....there was an alternative band playing (a good band if you like that sort of thing) but we decided that it would be a good time to head down Central Ave about two miles to this place called "Oaklawn Park" where it's simulcast season. I'd been in there earlier (after getting the BBQ going...remember the BBQ?) and had purchased a twenty-five dollar "win" ticket on a horse named Menefee (which happens to be Roger's last name) with my favorite rider in the saddle: Pat Day. Menefee had run second in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and was running harder than anyone else at the end of both those races so I scientifically deduced that he'd love the added distance of the Belmont and should win this race easily. And then monkey's fly out of my butt (just checking to see if anyone's reading this LOL)....

So anyway i figured we'd go down and pick up my winnings, play a couple of tri-boxes and be back in plenty of time for the guitar throwing contest. Well, this story is long and getting longer by the moment so I'll just tell y'all (if anyone's still with me) that on the way back to Banjo's we stopped by the ATM machine to get some more money (still not sure what happened to Pat and Menefee; think they're still running).

The Guitar Throwing Contest:

My wife warned me: "Don't drink too many beers you have to throw a guitar"..and of course I did what any 'Red blooded American husband" would do and ignored her advice and ordered another Bud.

Now remember: I've never thrown a guitar before, never even seen anyone throw a guitar before, but me in my divine wisdom has already developed this new "scientific" style of guitar's kinda of a cross between a hammer throw, a golf swing and a "Charlie Lauo" homerun swing.

The wind was blowing at my back and i had discussed with one of the other contestants that we needed altitude to take advantage of the aerodynamics of the light hollow body balsam wood guitars and that strong tail wind...just don't let my name be pulled first, I desperately need to see someone else throw a guitar so I can get an idea about how all these theories are going to work.

My # was pulled first. My luck holds. So as i approach the red line of death, I tell myself, what ever you do don't try and throw it too hard; cuz you're gonna do the same thing you do when you try and kill the ball on the golf it and send it dribbling into the trees to the right behind you in the rough.

I picked the smallest aerodynamic and sexiest guitar to throw...stepped up to the line, took a practice swing...the crowd grew silent...standing sideways to the red line of death I raised my guitar over my right shoulder...I eyed the pin about 30-40 yards to the portable toilet amidst the bails of hay.

The guitar begins to drop...a little voice says "harder"....I don't let go when i should, the guitar hooks over my left shoulder and heads towards a second story window, we all cover our heads in horror and run for cover expecting broken glass and shattered guitars....luckily my toss was so weak that it neither shattered the guitar or the the next guy up just kinda stepped up and threw the damn thing side arm like a frisby and it sailed right down to the pin and would have hit it if not for the bail of hay in front...the guitar just laid there as if to say "ha ha"...that guy won the powder blue guitar...

We went home broke and disgusted (not really) took the brisket and the country style ribs off the Smoker and crashed.


For future reference: The ribs were good. The Brisket although very well smoked wasn't completely done: conclusion: either par cook the brisket forehand next time or: let it smoke 24 hours instead of 12-13...that'll probably mean reloading and restarting the charcoal...

Have a happy summer y'all,

Steve Harnar
Hot Springs Arkansas