Don Lively



“Many Americans put away their white clothes on Labor Day and do not wear them again until the following May, after Memorial Day.” I found that little blurb when I was researching for this week’s scribblings.

Now I’ve heard for years that wearing white after Labor Day is considered to be gauche. That rule never impacted my life all that much since, because if my size and build, I rarely wear white anyway. But I do wear white once a year for two days in a row and, tragically, those two days occur before Memorial Day.

Mercy, what shall I do?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I’ll ignore any and all rules of civilized attire and will indeed dress, head to toe, in resplendent white.

Fie on protocols!

It’s Boss Hog time again, y’all!

Yes friends, the biggest and best and greatest and finest barbecue competition in all of the universe is back.

If you’ve lived in our neck of the woods for very long you have probably heard about Boss Hog, even if you’ve never been. If you haven’t, I strongly urge you to remedy that void in your life and be there for the festivities.

I’ll be there.

I’m Boss Hog.

I’ll be easy to spot in the above mentioned all white duds.

The event will be celebrating its 16th year and I will be decking out in the Boss Hog outfit for the 13th time. It would have been 14 but Covid raised its ugly head and we were forced to cancel two years ago. That was the year that the white suit hung in the closet looking very forlorn with no place to go.

Now you might think that all I have to do during the two days of the event is to walk around looking spectacular, but there are really some duties that go along with it.

On Friday night there is always an event that draws quite a crowd. Several local fellows dress up in ladies’ clothes and participate in a womanless beauty contest, however, the word beauty is used only metaphorically. There usually ain’t a whole lot of beauty on the stage. But it is a hoot to observe. I, myself, get to share the stage with the brave fellows as the Emcee of the contest. Incidentally, no past contestant, at least as far as I am aware, has ever shown any real confusion about their gender, it’s all in fun, and it raises money for local charities.

On Saturday afternoon I sponsor and run the annual Hog Calling Contest which is also always great fun. It’s amazing, the variety of ways that human beings believe hogs can be summoned to supper.

My final duty is to drive the winner of the biggest prize, the Grand Champion, around the complex in the Boss Hog car. It’s a red stretch convertible with huge longhorn steer horns on the front. On more than one occasion, the winners have told me that they want to win as much for the Boss Hog ride as they do for the money.

So, yes, I’m Boss Hog for two days and I have a great time, but the real stars of the show are the cooking teams.

These folks take barbecuing prime cuts of meat to the highest possible level. After all the years I’ve been involved, I still don’t know what all goes into the competition cooking process but I do know that cooks and helpers are often up all night the night before the judging, making sure that everything is as perfect as possible.

As soon as you step onto the huge lawn where the event takes place, the smell of the savory cuts of meat slowly cooking makes mouths water with anticipation.

It’s a meat lover’s paradise.

But the barbecue is not the only fare available.

Several food vendors will be on hand selling everything from pork skins to popcorn, from corndogs to funnel cakes.

There are also fun carnival rides for the kids, live music, a beer tent and, for course, plenty of opportunity to fellowship with folks from all over creation.

You can also have your picture taken with Boss, that would be me, just be real careful and don’t sling any barbecue sauce on the white threads cause you never know, I might need to wear the suit again.

Before Labor Day, of course.

Y’all come see us at the 16th Annual Boss Hog Barbecue Cook-Off.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of several books of Southern Humor. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at

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