In the New Year I'm going to begin sharing interviews with people and businesses that I have become acquainted with. Those who have influenced me and inspired me. Those I admire and enjoy whether it be in the bbq industry, a food blogger, chef or someone whose story has touched me.
I could not think of a better way to begin my new series than with my good friend, Mr. Bill Wheeler. Many of you may know Bill as a member of the Jack's Old South 2016 MIM World Champions as well as a close friend of the "Lord of Q" Myron Mixon. He is also a wonderful Husband, Father, granddaddy, businessman and a great friend to many.
A few years ago I met Bill through another close friend, Robby Conklin. I had no idea who Bill was but enjoyed talking with them both . It did not take long for me to see Bill as a genuine person who was a devoted family man and had a great sense of humor.
Fast forward to a little over a year ago when my husband John and I were invited to Bbq at Elder's Ace Hardware at the East Brainerd location in Chattanooga. Harold Stockburger is the owner of the location. Mr. Stockburger is an accomplished bbq enthusiast himself and has made Elders the "grillin place in Chattanooga."
Bill came out that day to meet us and that in itself was a very humbling experience. He spent some time chatting with us and trying the pork we had prepared. Needless to say I was nervous and relieved when He gave our sauce the seal of approval.
I wanted this interview to highlight the many aspects of Bill's life. Bill is a native of Cleveland, Tennessee.
Along with traveling with Myron Mixon's team and playing a vital role in the many classes Myron teaches, Bill is also the owner of Wheeler Technologies. They are a low voltage contractor. Fire, security, access control, video surveillance, telephone systems and structured cabling.
I asked Bill to share something that most people may not know about him.
He was one of the first EMTs in Cleveland, Tennessee and was involved in fire and rescue for almost ten years. He is also an ordained minister and performed the ceremony for Myron's daughter in October, 2018.
Bill stated that he can't remember a time that he didn't enjoy grilling but didn't get involved with smoking until he attended Myron's cooking school in 2010. That is when his relationship with Myron Mixon began. In December of 2010 Myron began asking Bill to be on his team. Bill stated "I finally started competing with Myron in 2012." He went on to add that he is blessed that the winningest man in BBQ history invited him to be a part of his team.
Although you may think he probably grills a majority of the time, he truly loves mexican food and can be found at Outback Steakhouse quite often.
I then asked Bill to share some of the preparations that go into the cooking schools that Myron hosts. First, Bill travels to Unadilla the Thursday before cook school to setup under the tents for the students hands on prep work. They have tables to set up under the pavilion for the class as well.
I also asked what is involved in the BBQ competitions they compete in. Once he as well as the other members of the team arrive, Tracey Mixon(Myron's brother) has everything set up. Bill said the longest distance he has traveled for a competition is Palm Springs, California. Annually the team travels to Memphis, Kansas City, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Up until the last three years, Bill traveled 45 weekends a year to compete. Now he travels approximately fifteen weekends a year.
I often see pictures of Bill's dogs. He has a Shitzu named Barbie Q and a peekapoo named Mixi Q. Mixi Q is Myron's namesake.
I asked Bill does he have any hobbies, what does he do in his "down time?"
BBQ is his hobby and a distraction from his "real job." He also enjoys trout fishing and metal detecting.
When asked who the biggest influence on his life has been he said "Myron Mixon has been the biggest influence on my bbq life since we met in 2010".
I then asked Bill how he stay grounded and focused especially being in the public eye and so well known. He answered humbly (which is one of the qualities I admire about Bill) and said "I'm just a plain old person that is just here to be a blessing."
May we all learn from these words and try each day to be a blessing to others.
I want to thank Bill so very much for taking time out of his very busy schedule to talk with me. I also hope each of you have enjoyed learning more about Bill and all that goes into the competitions and schools that he is a part of along with the entire team.