Photos: Destination America
Rush Bus Center’s John Ley Jr. is known as pretty hot stuff around Georgia. The 15-year dealer, who supports 85 school systems in the state, has become a master griller and has competed on BBQ Pitmasters on the Destination America TV network.
“I started out doing cookouts for my church picnics and I guess people liked what I could do, so my partner, Jason Bowen, and I decided to enter competitions,” says the 37-year-old husband and father from Perry, Ga.
Over time, the Heavenly Hawgs (their self-appointed nickname), who met grilling at Perry’s Southside Baptist Church, began to cook up a pretty good reputation. “I took a competitive grilling class and we started winning on the state and regional level,” Ley says. “Once we got a taste of success, there was no looking back.
Last year, Ley was invited to compete in a prestigious cooking show on which he and Bowen finished second by three-hundredths of a point. “That was my proudest moment,” he says. “Not only did it give us the chance to compete against the best grillers from all over the country, but I got advice from my chef idol, Myron Mixon.”
In the meantime, he’s happy to keep cooking for his customers and at the church for people who can use a good meal. “I love cooking for my bus customers,” he says. “They really appreciate it when I bring barbecue to their shops. I love the competition, but there’s no bigger trophy than when somebody who really needs it enjoys what I grill.”