Five years in a row, Trent Weitzel applied to join the vendors at the National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival, calling organizer Drew Cerza to pitch his Double Dub's wings, the most popular chicken wings in Laramie, Wyo., population 32,000.
Again and again, Cerza, founder of the wing showcase, said no. He didn’t tell Weitzel to stop calling. But Weitzel lacked a brick-and-mortar restaurant, which was one strike against him. More importantly, Cerza had nobody in Wyoming to vouch for Weitzel’s wings.
The fifth year Weitzel called, he had a name.
“I said, ‘Hey, do you know Josh Allen?’ ” Weitzel recalled. “And he's like, ‘Well, yeah, he's our quarterback.’ And I said, ‘Well, he used to come to my food truck about twice, three times a week when he was going to school here.’”
That bit of information about the Buffalo Bills quarterback, Weitzel said later, “changed the direction of the conversation a little bit.”
This week, Weitzel, his wife, Carrie, and a posse of friends, will pack a trailer and make the 22-hour drive from Laramie to Buffalo. After years of dreaming, Trent Weitzel is getting a chance to show the saucy skills of Double Dub's in the Super Bowl of wings.
“It's my biggest dream. I've been talking about it for about five years, ever since I started cooking chicken wings,” Weitzel said.
“So it's a really big deal for me, to be honest with you. I'm super excited for it.” He hopes that he can perform “up to everybody's expectations,” he said.
Double Dub's will be offering wings in a habanero mustard sauce, a lime-pepper dry rub and three levels of amplified Frank’s-style hot.
Plus his closer: The "Spicy Blue," a Frank’s-blue cheese cross sprinkled with more crumbled blue cheese. It’s the pitch that got Weitzel to The Show, served with housemade blue cheese dressing.
Even before Weitzel got into the chicken wing business, the Laramie native loved Buffalo’s favorite culinary export.
While working as a championship-winning diving coach, Weitzel made wings for Super Bowl parties and backyard barbecues while germinating ideas for signature sauces and rubs. In 2014, Weitzel turned pro, buying a double-decker bus that combined an upstairs seating area with a kitchen on wheels. Double Dub's was born.
Now Weitzel’s Double Dub's wings are a part of college football game days in Laramie, before University of Wyoming Cowboys games. The Double Dub's bus-restaurant sets up in a parking lot about a block outside the stadium.
Coaches started eating Double Dub's wings, and Weitzel started to cater team and coaches’ dinners. The players spread his fame during preseason camp, and Allen became a regular.
“It was fun in college to drive around and find it and order some really good wings,” Allen said this week. “They had a spicy blue sauce they put on their wings for a limited time, and those were still maybe my favorite wings of all time.”
When Allen became the starting quarterback of the Bills, he wore his wing-loving credentials on his sleeve, praising wing superstars like Bar Bill Tavern on Twitter. So this time, when Weitzel called Cerza, the organizer said he would take Allen as his vouch for Double Dub's.
Weitzel flipped through his phone and called Allen, and said something along the lines of, “Hey, man, can you give Drew a call and let him know that my wings are credible, you know, they're actually good?”
Allen told him he would. “Josh is kind of a credible source,” Weitzel said. Allen had one condition: Weitzel has to bring Spicy Blue, Allen’s favorite wing sauce from his time in Wyoming.
The quarterback followed through. “I told (Cerza), ‘This is my guy from back in Laramie,’ ” Allen said this week in an interview. “And I said, ‘I promise I can vouch for his wings. I know Buffalo takes its wings very seriously up here, and so does my guy back in Laramie.’ ”
So on Saturday and Sunday, wing lovers can try the pride of Laramie, and Allen’s favorite, in center field. (The double-decker bus could not make the journey, unfortunately.)
The NFL season is underway, so the quarterback’s a busy man, but he’ll try to make it by for a taste of Wyoming.
“Heck yeah, I’m gonna try to go,” Allen said.
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News Sports Reporter Mark Gaughan contributed to this report.
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