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Rain Man
07-27-2006, 11:01 AM
Um...anyone ever heard of this guy? I can't get into the Chiefs site to check their all-time roster. I think he was just camp fodder who never made the team unless I get some proof otherwise.

http://www.easttexasradio.com/east_texas_journal/etj20040316_2.htm


A Barbecue By Any Other Name...

By HUDSON OLD

Journal Publisher

He goes down in National Football League history as one of the greats in the same way a new neighbor recognized at first brush his virtuoso skills, his natural ease as a conductor.

Coming in from his day job as production manager at Dekoron Wire and Cable, Craig Rutledge noted an assemblage on the veranda of the previously-vacant home next door. Led by a burly gent whose face in repose is reminiscent of the bad guy on TV wrestling, the fellow's expression softened as he fretted and strummed his guitar, time and again leading his cohorts in the opening line of the Beatle's classic, Hey Jude.

Delighted with each rehearsal, between performances the group appropriately celebrated a world where there's music and the successful movement of kitchen appliances. As their enlightenment passed plateaus, their depth of understanding and thus their appreciation for Thursday afternoons made more enthusiastic each burst into song.

Once inside, Craig questioned his wife.

"Who's that?"

"I dunno, but in the last two hours they've got that 'Hey Jude' part down," she said.

Over the backyard fence in coming days, noting the frequent drift of cooking smoke, the always accompaniment of music, visitors who laughed, it turned out that Craig and Zeke Zwernemann's interests and affiliations ran some common routes. They hold like values.

Zeke's fame as a boxer rivals that of his football career.

A pulling guard for the Kansas City Chiefs, later he made a train salvage expert. For a while a nomad biker, the way it turns out, one day he was in Mt. Pleasant, married to a writer, sitting on Craig's next-door porch.

They linked up. Not in passing, but teaming up. Corporate calls it synergy, the idea that if one man in one day can do a day's work, two working together can do three days' work.

Similar principles apply to food, drink and friendships.

Whatever else he's done, with Craig on his team, Zeke's blazing a life trail now that's leaving change as a legacy, honoring those who do something for nothing, just because it's right.

And making barbecue better.


Mt. Pleasant High School student Braden Pearce (right) presents Lone Star BBQ Society President David McInroe with the 1st place brisket plaque at the firs annual Titus County Special Olympics Barbecue held Valentine's Day.

SANCTIONED BY no less authority than the Lone Star Barbecue Association, organized by Zeke, the first annual Titus County Special Olympics BBQ competition shroud shrouded the Titus County Civic Center in hardwood smoke February 14. Out back of the building, under the livestock sheds.

The event, like any where reasonable conspiracy theorists might note and duly question the relationship between organization and the Z-Bro's BBQ team of Zwernemann and Rutledge, drew the attention of the Houston law firm of semi-estranged Zwernemann Brother Don.

"The sanctioned status of the Mt. Pleasant barbecue had direct bearing on the potential for entrants to qualify for the national barbecue finals held in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show," the counselor said. "As a Houstonian, I was compelled by civic virtue and duty to assure that bi-laws were in place to protect the integrity of the competition," the legal eagle continued.

"While recognizing the manipulative and professional competence with which Don Zwernemann can massage facts, his ploy was little more than a card house underpinning with which he clearly was attempting to leverage his way into free barbecue," Craig said. "It's more of the same odious plotting he's employed to chisel his way onto the Z-B-Q board."

Presently offered only by private sale, Z-B-Q barbecue rub, developed by Zeke and Craig, is the first product to be sold with the Z-B-Q label.

To date, it's only been peddled over the counter of the mobile cooking trailer Craig regularly helps set up at any of the score of cooking competitions the Z-Bro's BBQ Team manages to loose several thousand dollars annually participating in.

"Craig's a soul-styled brother in the organization, considerably more reliable than my biological brother, the attorney," Zeke said.

He describes his brother as a "fair weather" team member, most prone to show up in hunting camp kitchens and those cookoffs where efforts are divided among dominoes, cooking, dining, and philosophizing; prognosticating, consulting and advising.

"Don's a natural, a great cook. He could be one of the legends among legions," says Team Captain Zeke. "But he's too easily distracted. No focus. In the game of BBQ or the game of life, you go with the players who want it. Craig may not be blood kin, but he's the man."

The biological brothers came by their avocation honestly, growing up in Giddings, a community with strong German roots halfway between Houston and Austin. They say any occasion was occasion enough to cause a cooking event, including, but not limited to holy days, weddings, baby christenings or whether or not the flies returned to San Juan Capistrano.

"All good German Lutherans understand the basic relationship between the spiritual cosmos and barbecue," said Zeke, adding that several years of training as a generally and otherwise unemployed California biker following the blown-knee taxi squad season finale of by then his Canadian football career allows him to perceive a common trait among barbecue and biking crowds.

"Nobody's in it for the money," he said. As if echoing current fiscal reporting trends of corporate America, Z-Bro's audit committee unraveled in disarray trying to annualize losses.

"It has to do with whether individual profits and losses related to Moon and Forty Two are computed in organizational expenses and whether or not bi-laws require itemized reports that could become state's evidence," says the team legal representative.

"It's wiggle room about who's buying," says Craig.

On average, the team takes to the road better than once a month. Whatever the costs in fuel, time, gaming expenses and food to crank out up to 260 pounds of competition-quality brisket, chicken, gumbo, beans, cabbage, ham, grilled pepper, chili and more goes along with whatever profit may or may not be generated for hospice or Oddfellows, churches, or, in the case of the February event, Special Olympics.

"I've gone with kids to competitions for years," Zeke said. "It's something I'll always do and if we can raise these guys some money, we can all go more." Get some new uniforms, he says.

The most memorable day of his pro-football career with Kansas City goes back to a hot Sunday in August, an exhibition game with the Los Angeles Rams.

"The game's over, everybody's hot and tired, sitting on the bus, waiting for somebody to show up and drive us back to the airport," Zeke said.

Frustrated with the wait, KC linebacker E.J. Holub had done little more than commandeer the bus and get the team rolling when LA Transit Authority officers pulled him over.

"The authorities in LA didn't recognize E.J.'s legendary status back in Lubbock, where he'd distinguished himself at Texas Tech," Zeke said. Specifics of legal actions threatened by authorities that afternoon have long since vanished, like unneeded brain cells.

An alumni of East Texas State, Zeke played offensive line for the Lions until it caused a Bachelor of Science degree and, just as important in his career evolution, a conference championship back in '63. It was '64 that he won his Dallas Golden Gloves heavyweight championship, by knockout.

After wrapping up his bit part to the world as a West Coast biker (following his pro ball career) he went to Real Work, traveling the country nine years unraveling train derailments that led him to Kathy, Mt. Pleasant and a house next door to Craig.

"Craig brings a whole new dimension to the team," Zeke said. "He mingles easily with raw sorts but brings with him the sensitivity to make chocolate covered jalapenos. He won Mt. Pleasant Moonlight Jubilee's first cornbread contest single handedly."

The team won the 2003 Winfield Chili Cookoff just as they were launching their barbecue rub venture. Perhaps neither of them recognized the potential of a product "so simple a child can use it," and capable of turning a pure novice into an able barbecue chef the first time out of the blocks, Zeke maintains (see recipe, somewhere in the vicinity of this story.)

While there's been no rush of investors, Craig's contact with Kroger's has aroused chain retail interest, allowing biological brother Don to cut his way back into the picture over a moon game at deer camp during the New Year Holiday.

"You'd think America would have bureaucracy honed to the point you can just chunk money at it," Zeke said. As it turns out, getting the UPC pricing code and meeting retail bonding requirements for Z-B-Q takes legal expertise.

"Don's price was right," Zeke said, explaining the attorney's presently-recognized team affiliation. The bond bit has to do with the manufacturer's potential liability in case somebody sues a potential vendor, "like if somebody says they cooked with it and it curled their toenails and they go get a lawyer," Zeke said.

While disdaining tedious documentation of control and experimental groups, both partners and a number of witnesses of high moral character say the spicy Z-B-Q concoction has been fed numerous times to approving members of a local church congregation affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Both men are card carrying Baptists, though Zeke qualifies his affiliation.

"I think of myself more these days as a Christian attending a Baptist church," he said, blunting potential criticism of his wife taking part in dances on top of the town chamber's unofficially proclaimed "People's Choice" entry in the recent Christmas parade. A celebrity in her own right, Kathy Zwernemann is features editor of The Mt. Pleasant Daily Tribune.

Meanwhile, wannabe contestants in Mt. Pleasant's first sanctioned BBQ cookoff can contact Zeke at Top Hat Industries, where he's general manager of a manufacturing concern producing 6,000 trailers a year for 95 vendors now stretching coast to coast.

"Better yet, they can call Patti Alexander at J.C. Penney," he advised.

"She's Director of Titus County Special Olympics, reigning woman of the year, a lot more pleasant on the phone, surely has more community credibility, and the number's 5-7-2-3-6-2-6."

A shameless opportunist, Zeke makes no bones about building the Special Olympics BBQ benefit on the foundation of Jesse May's Smoky-eyed BBQ, which has established Mt. Pleasant as an annual competition destination among cookers.

The Lone Star sanction ups the ante with its potential for teams gunning for the national cookoff to earn points that can send them to the invitation only event held in conjunction with the prestigious Houston Livestock Show.

"This is serious business," deadpans the man whose E-Z rhyme surname initial provides the name-sake first syllable of Z-B-Q, which has been successfully field tested in venues beyond traditional barbecue production, he said.

Beyond the domain of carnivores delighting in zesty beef, pork and poultry, late night refrigerator raiders will find Z-B-Q a spicy garnish for cottage cheese or sliced tomatoes, a culinary spike for cold cuts.

"Jesse May dusts fried catfish as it comes off the fire," Zeke said. "During Thanksgiving we made a fried turkey breakthrough by applying it to hot meat and letting it steam in. A competition bean cook looking for an edge is conducting ongoing trials. We're not sure if it'll cure anything, but it's too early to rule that out."

chefsos
07-27-2006, 11:16 AM
Alas, he's not there.

http://www.kcchiefs.com/media/misc/chiefs_all-time_alpha.pdf

StcChief
07-27-2006, 11:24 AM
Check this ... Ron Zwernemann Same guy from E Texas St. 1967 draft

http://www.profootballhof.com/history/release.jsp?release_id=1463

Rain Man
07-27-2006, 11:34 AM
So does this mean that he was drafted in the fourth round, but didn't make the team?

StcChief
07-27-2006, 11:46 AM
So does this mean that he was drafted in the fourth round, but didn't make the team?
I didn't find him in here....accuracy?
http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerlist.htm?lt=z

Drafted but on the 1967 roster ?
http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=KAN&lg=afl&yr=1967

Pre NFLE so where did he go? Left Football.

Nice to use the NFL for BBQ promo with Zeke..... :rolleyes:

Rain Man
07-27-2006, 11:49 AM
They make a reference to him playing in the CFL, but his name doesn't show up on a google search of being a CFL player. I'm not sure if 60s-era CFL linemen would show up on a google search at all, though.

From article:

""All good German Lutherans understand the basic relationship between the spiritual cosmos and barbecue," said Zeke, adding that several years of training as a generally and otherwise unemployed California biker following the blown-knee taxi squad season finale of by then his Canadian football career allows him to perceive a common trait among barbecue and biking crowds."

StcChief
07-27-2006, 11:55 AM
They make a reference to him playing in the CFL, but his name doesn't show up on a google search of being a CFL player. I'm not sure if 60s-era CFL linemen would show up on a google search at all, though.

From article:

""All good German Lutherans understand the basic relationship between the spiritual cosmos and barbecue," said Zeke, adding that several years of training as a generally and otherwise unemployed California biker following the blown-knee taxi squad season finale of by then his Canadian football career allows him to perceive a common trait among barbecue and biking crowds."

CFL may not have the records as the NFL... Google searches what's indexed.

I guess show up in East Texas BBQ and see the man/myth/legend Zeke
and ask about Chiefs. CFL....

Chiefs historian on Planet??? insider to Arrowhead crowd?

LKZB
05-01-2009, 09:44 PM
I know him personally. He was drafted 4th round to Chiefs in '67. He was on the team for 2 years but never played a game (injured). He did go to CFL and play for the Allouettes (I believe). Left football after that. To this day, still feels the physical pain from his football days.

Dave Lane
05-01-2009, 09:56 PM
Wow in that draft we got Eric Dickerson....

No wait that was Erickson, Dick

nevermind...