September 26, 2021

Celebrating the Coolest Local Stuff

Trying to Make Tenderloin Lemonade

By Jay Kerner

We had a dream.   

We wanted to invite tenderloin lovers from around the world to come together in a celebration of their golden goodness.  Here in “St. Joseph, Missouri –Tenderloin Capital of the World!”® 

We were going to partner with our friends at The St. Joseph Music Foundation and have our event in conjunction with their JoeStock Festival, adding a huge food component to their weekend of live music. 

The Foundation operates a non-profit radio station and runs sound for various civic events.  JoeStock is their largest fundraiser of the year, and we anticipated that adding our World Tenderloin Championship would give them a healthy boost. 

People liked the idea.  We had contestants.  We had sponsors.  It was all coming together. 

Till the virus made it a no-go for this summer. 

So, bummer!  Big ol’ bummer! 

For the city.  For the foundation.  For all the folks that were planning to attend.  For the fine purveyors of breaded pork, that we had enticed with the lure of being named Top Tenderloin

At the heart of all of our efforts was recognizing the passion people have for this sandwich!  It’s crazy here, to the point of near fisticuffs between those arguing different favorites. 

We knew it was a Midwest thing.  Friends and family migrated elsewhere over the years, and always bemoaned the lack of tenderloins.  But we had no idea the scope of this sandwich obsession!  At least, until we found out about the Pursuing Pork Tenderloins Facebook group.  I’m assuming most of my audience is familiar with them by now, but if not, go check it out!  35k+ members last time I looked, all searching for the same thing; The Perfect Tenderloin.  Posting picture after picture of their finds, complete with reviews.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s tenderloin porn! 

So anyway, we’re disappointed at the cancellation. 

Some of you know me pretty well, and some of you don’t much, beyond a post here or there.  Those that do will not be surprised to learn that I’m not willing to just lie down and let a stupid virus destroy our plans!  Oh, no! 

I’m making new plans!   

Here’s what I’m thinkin’: 

We still want to name a “Top Tenderloin” of 2020.  Decided by popular vote.  Online or by snail mail.  Limit one vote per email address or street address.  The winner will be the one with the most loyal fans, wherever that may be.  We figure, if we get the word out, the power of social media should drive it wherever it goes.  We’d hope a lot of places would conduct their own campaigns, contacting their local media for support. 

We’re thinking maybe run the contest all summer long, with the winner named Labor Day.  We’d also name honorable mention winners for other top vote getters.  All would receive menu stickers and a certificate or plaque or something, proclaiming their honor. 

But tallying votes for what could be thousands of candidates will be no easy chore.  So we’re considering something.  Our friends at the Foundation are getting hosed the most of anybody in this deal.  We’d like to help.  We wonder if people would pay a buck to vote?  Again, limited to one vote per person, so nobody could buy the title. 

We were thinking maybe take out 10% for prize money to the winner.  With enough votes, that could be some real money.  

We’d probably set it up to take PayPal to make it easy, online, but we could also take cash, check, money order, or whatever, by snail-mail. 

Heck, maybe we can get our digital brainiacs to set it up so we could post updates throughout.  I don’t know.   

I’m envisioning some kind of Labor Day Telethon-like deal.  Heck, Jerry milked that weekend for decades, but it’s up for grabs now!  We could fill that void somehow! 

Do it for Jaybird’s Kids.  Kids that need tenderloins! 

Like I say, we’re just now making this up.  I’m floating this out there as a test balloon.  Would people do this?  How does this idea sit with you?   

We feel like this is making the best of a bad situation.  We still get to name a winner.  The places with the most supporters get the bragging rights.  Wherever they are!  This is by no means just a St. Joe thing. 

And our friends at the Foundation keep the lights on and the tunes jamming till next summer. 

And speaking of next summer… we’re going to be optimistic!  We’re already planning for next year, and trust me, another year of organizing will make the inaugural event even better than it would have been.  And if this year’s online event does half as well as we suspect it might, they could actually get a financial head-start on next summer. 

So that’s what we’re thinking.  It’s not set up yet.  We won’t even do it if you hate the idea.   

But would ya?  Would you literally and figuratively put your money where your mouth is? 

Would you pay a buck to vote for your favorite? 

Do you think other folks would? 

Let us know!  We think it’s got some merit, but we wanna know what you all think, before we go to all the trouble of setting it up.  Assuming we do, we’ll post again when we’re ready to start the voting! 

Thanks, as always, for reading!