Presenter Highlights

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Key Note Speaker

John McPhee AKA “The Sheriff of Baghdad” | Main Events Room

Sergeant Major (ret) John McPhee AKA “The Sheriff of Baghdad” served a distinguished career in U.S. Army Special Operations for over 20 years, retiring in 2011. Better known for his call sign “SHREK”, John created the S.O.B. brand to provide his knowledge to civilians, law enforcement, and militaries around the world.

John has spent his adult life in Special Operations and Special Mission Units. He has trained countless U.S. Special Operations forces, thousands of International Tier 1 Operators and Special Forces around the world. He is one of the handful of operators with over a decade of combat having served in multiple theaters from Bosnia and South America to recent war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is a Master Instructor in all aspects of special activities, missions and operations. With over 10 years of private special activities consulting John is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in: Special Activities, Operational Preparations, Limited Signature Operations, Reconnaissance, Singleton Operations, High Threat Dignitary Protective Services, Extreme Long Range, Designated Marksman, Advanced Precision Rifle Marksmanship, Combat Marksmanship, Live Fire CQB/CQC, Advanced Pistol Marksmanship, Advanced Carbine Marksmanship, Aerial Gunnery (Rifles, Shotguns, Aerial Personnel, and Vehicle Interdictions), Mechanical, Ballistic, and Explosive Breaching, Freefall Instructor Programs, Infiltration/Exfiltration Techniques, Ground Mobility, Unit Pre-Deployment Training, and Research and Development of: Soldier Systems, Weapons, Ammunition, Thermal and Night Optics.

Long Road to Success

Darian Kosmo | Highlight | Main Events Room

In 2009 Kosmo's Q was launch and 10 years later and a lot of work it is valued at over 10 million dollars!

Almost as amazing as this barbecue success story is the captivating personal journey of Darian himself. This will a bare-all presentation of the realities of life on the journey to success.


Meet the Masters - Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson | Main Events Room

Hailing from a background in fine dining, Chef Mike Johnson launched his career under Emeril Lagasse before heading to Chicago’s Charlie Trotter and Gabino Sotellino. Then on to Paris to train at the prestigious Le Buisson D’Ardent.

Today, Mike is the chef and owner of St. Louis’ Sugarfire Smoke House, an award-winning restaurant that shines a light on Johnson’s dynamic capacity. With fifteen locations (and counting), Sugarfire has consistently been ranked best barbecue in St. Louis and Chef Johnson continues to establish himself as a culinary master and renowned competitor. 

Meet the Masters - Sterling Smith

Sterling Smith | Main Events Room

Sterling Smith is the owner and pit-master of Loot N’ Booty BBQ that started as a competition barbecue team in 2009. Since then the Loot N’ Booty has grown significantly with their products and classes being experienced across America and the world.

Through the Meet the Masters panel, Sterling will share the learnings, trials, and successes of this his quick-growing brand along with others that are becoming the new generation barbecue masters.


Meet the Masters - Tim Scheer

Tim Scheer | Main Events Room

Most people know Tim Scheer from his incredibly successful competition barbecue team Shake 'n Bake BBQ, however, Tim is also the head of some equally successful barbecue businesses including Blues Hog, Gateway Drum Smokers, and the National Barbecue League.

He brings a diverse range of business skills to the panel discussion, including a strong media presence and an ambassador to some major barbecue brands.