BIOGRAPHY FOR HEATH RILES
A number of years ago now, an eighteen-year old kid in Ashland, Mississippi who was trying to figure what he wanted to do in life developed an ambition to pursue a career that was far from commonplace. He had been given a chance to participate on a local – but renowned – competition barbeque team, the Tippah Bottom Hog Rustlers, headed by Pitmaster Don Moody. That experience captivated this young man and helped establish the goals he would pursue.
Today, Heath Riles has established himself as an industry leading expert in both competition barbeque and competition grilling. Not simply a pitmaster in his own right, Heath is also the creator of an award winning line of barbeque rubs, sauces, marinades and injections. But even those who are not “into” such products or competition barbeque and grilling have gotten a “taste” of Heath. This has occurred as a result of a Bank of America sponsored television commercial which promoted the Bank’s cashback credit card line and aired on television worldwide for six months. It featured Heath and several members of his former Victory Lane BBQ team “in action” as they prepared for a competition event.
But make no mistake. The position Heath occupies in the industry today and the notoriety he now enjoys did not occur by accident. Those who know Heath will vouch for the fact that his success is and remains the product of countless hours of hard work. As for Heath himself, being the kind of person he is, he would also tell you that it also involved some good fortune too. In the main, that good fortune is the result of his association with so many good people who have helped him and mentored him along the way, not just in helping to advance his cooking skills, but in mastering the “business side” of competition cooking, as well. Heath can tick off the names of the many mentors, sponsors and fellow team members to whom he gives so much credit, beginning with Don Moody and the rest of the Tippah Bottom Hug Rustlers who gave him his start, to Pitmaster Pat Burke who “took a-liking” to Heath and gave him hours of help, to the “guys and gals” who made up many subsequent teams he transitioned to, from Fat Cracks BBQ, to Boar’s Night Out, 10 Bones BBQ, to Victory Lane BBQ, and now most recently, to the team members of the simply, but appropriately named, Heath Riles BBQ Team. Of course, the list of those to whom Heath so routinely gives credit is never completed until he mentions the many national companies he works and partners with including Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork, Yeti, Traeger, Deep South Smokers, Old Hickory Pits, and B&B Charcoal.
But, finally, when it comes to those to whom Heath gives credit there is Candace, Heath’s wife, who has supported him through a career challenged with countless miles of travel and work days in which sleep is only a luxury. When not on the road with Heath, Candace pursues her own career as a Registered Nurse. And, that’s “a good thing” as Heath will tell you when it comes to helping get rid of the many “headaches” a road weary pitmaster must deal with.
Yes, the journey to where Heath finds himself today has been one exciting and successful ride. Over the years, Heath has not only established himself as a master of the cooking styles of both of the two principle sponsoring bodies in the industry – the Memphis BBQ Network (MBN) and the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) – but also a master of the winning style favored by the Steak Cook-Off Association (SCA). Here are just a few of the highlights in Heath’s career that have occurred in the most recent years:
A list of Heath’s accomplishments would be lacking if it did include the fact that Heath does so much to help others grow their careers in the industry. Heath routinely teaches classes and performs cooking demonstrations across the country helping so many others develop their skills and in doing so helping to ensure that the quality of cooking in the industry remains top notch. As for his own career, while Heath could just sit back and take great satisfaction in what he has accomplished, Heath, with Candace by his side – will just flat out tell you that, “The best is yet to come!”