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There was this one gig that never happened. After the Shiner Rising Star contest and the Wakarusa battle of the bands, we thought we were finished with such hoedown-showdowns. We just wanted to make some music. But then #BoulevardBrewing nudged us, saying we were one of six bands picked from around the country to throw down in their "Last Jam Standing" contest, the winner of which would get to represent the launch of their new Jam Band ale at #Boulevardia Fest in Kansas City.

Well, who can resist a challenge that involves beer? So we worked our booties off to get our fans and their friends, and their friends' friends, etcetera, to support us in the online voting. And boy did they! They shook their networks to action to back our little string band. I mean, aunts, uncles, cousins, work colleagues, old high school classmates, craft beer clubs, folk enthusiasts, and just general fans of Texas music - all supporting us. Every show we played, folks got out their phones and voted right then and there, and texted everyone they knew to do the same. We even promoted it with a live show on a local radio station. Several weeks of everyone hustling put us in first place, until...

On the final day of voting, another band surged into the lead like a jackalope in a tortoise race. We watched their vote tallies on Boulevard's website explode with ten to twenty votes per minute. With each refresh of the web page, fifty votes, seventy votes, then a hundred votes. They gained more than 800 votes in a single hour. And just as our fans were trying to rally before the closing bell, Boulevard shut down the voting process hours before their rules had stated they would, leaving this other band holding the prize.

No thanks, "Anna Suarez." We prefer the support of actual human beings.

We never got an explanation from Boulevard for why they shut voting down early [insert conspiracy theory here], but they later claimed their "software" had detected fraudulent votes among all six bands and that, once they removed those from the pool, the results were still the same. Strange, we thought. I mean, you can't control what your fans do on their own, but most of our votes were accounted for by folks we know personally. And besides, the officials had to have witnessed the voting voodoo of that last day.

Who knows? Maybe a thousand votes in a few hours is possible, and they did it all legit. Anyway, as much as this chafed us and our fans, we didn't want to get all sour grapes over the situation, so we let it go, and went back to Bodarks business as usual.

A week later, a fellow anonymously contacted us who was affiliated with the winning band. Knew them personally. Said he knew for a fact that they had cheated and were shameless about admitting it around town. Said he felt compelled to let us know. He had even contacted Boulevard with this bit of info, but they dismissed it all.

Ah well, the show goes on, beer or no beer.


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