Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off 2011

The country's favorite free rib festival was back! The 23rd annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off from Wednesday, August 31 through Monday, September 5, 2011. Once again transformed the Labor Day holiday on Victorian Square in downtown Sparks into a culinary, live music (by Mumbo Gumbo), craft, and family end-of-summer affair.

They have contestants from all over the world. There were 24 this year and it is held in Victorian Square in front of the Nugget. I usually go at least once during their 4 or 5 days over the Labor Day week end. Kinderís is from Reno and I think the one that is from the most distant is Australia. Lots from Texas and other southern states, but some from Chicago. When we were in Carson City, I would come to Sparks just to pick up ribs from the cook-off for Carl. He loved them, but couldnít make the trip and do the walking to get them. Monday is the last day and they will announce the winner for this year at 2:00. It will close at 5:00 today. My friend, Olivia, is in the last picture. Only got the side and back of her....She is the redhead.

Olivia (above right) and I went there this morning to look around. Didnít stay long as it was so crowded. Ten dollars to park cars, so we left the Jeep at Bonnie's and walked to Victorian Square. The ribs we got were great, but we brought them home to eat, as we couldnít find a place to sit down and enjoy them. I just thought I would post the pictures of the people and the competition they have every year.

And the Best of the West in this year's Cook-off is Back Forty Texas BBQ.  Dan McGee Back Forty Texas BBQ owner Jeff Erb, and business partner Mike Warren hoist the Best Ribs trophy at Monday's award ceremony. Erb's wife Yvonne holds the "pig check," while Miguel Perez looks on and the Bud Girls help them celebrate.

After 20 years of competing in the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off, Back Forty Texas Barbecue finally won first place on Monday. Second place winner Tom Ferguson and Chicago BBQ Company have attended the rib cook-off since the very beginning 23 years ago. "I can't believe all of the ribs we feed you people on the West Coast," Ferguson said. Out of 24 teams, the top five winners were:
First place, Back Forty Texas Barbecue, Pleasant Hill, CA., $7,500.
Second Place, Chicago BBQ Co., Burr Ridge, IL., $3,000
Third place, Bone Daddy's., Midland, MI., $2,000.
Fourth Place, Kinder's Custom Meats, Concord, CA., $1,000.
Fifth Place, Porky N Beans BBQ, Port St. Lucie, FL., $500.
The People's Choice Award went to Bone Daddy's BBQ, of Midland, MI. for the second year in a row. The award for Best Sauce, also worth $500, went to newcomer Uncle Bub's of Westport, IL.

It's hard to imagine that more than 500,000 people attended the cook-off and more than 100 tons of ribs were served. Sierra Meats, the rib distributor for the event, reports that 239,000 pounds of ribs were sold, up from 212,000 in 2010. An official attendance and economic impact report will be released in a few weeks.