Posted 8/17/11 (Wed)
By Olivia Sundeen
Farmer Staff Writer
Just like that Ribfest has come and gone, but it will have people smiling every time they think about the fun they had.
“I was so excited,” stated Laura Sanford. “We had predicted a great turnout and that is exactly what we had.”
With people walking around eating chicken-on-a-stick, the smell of ribs filling the air, and a rapping cowboy, the atmosphere was hypnotizing.
“Ribfest is always enjoyable,” stated Cory Johnson of the Koch, Johnson/RTC team. “This was our sixth or seventh year competing at Ribfest and this year had a lot more people. Just during lunch hour we served over a couple hundred sandwiches.”
As most people had positive attitudes throughout the day, Mother Nature tried to be a “Debbie Downer” as she sent a 20-minute downpour that temporarily had people dashing for cover.
“Our team actually welcomed the rain,” stated Johnson. “It gave us time to catch up on food preparation, so it all worked out.”
From then on the weather cooperated and was actually quite enjoyable.
“The weather is good, the food is great, and I’m having a blast,” was the consensus of many attendees.
Over 20 teams had a chance to showcase their ribs at 5:30 p.m. Some teams came with experience, while others were new to the Ribfest extravaganza.
“This is our first year,” stated Peggy Hellandsaas of the Tobacco Gardens team. “We are enjoying it. We decided it was time to support the community and just give back. I have been on the Chamber side and I thought they did a lot of work. But after this year I realize it is a horse a-piece and I am glad so many people come out to enjoy this event that so many people put time into.”
For teams with experience, every year brings something new and exciting to the table.
“We have been here since day one,” stated Gretchen Stenehjem of the First International Bank & Trust team. “We have gotten into it every year. We love to win, but no matter what it is just such a fun event.”
This year the winner for having the best ribs in the west was Montana Dakota Utilities with TJ’s Pizza & Suds coming in at second place. McKenzie County Bank walked away with the Showmanship Award.
The ribs are the reason most people make it down to Ribfest, but this year the vendors did a great job of catching the eyes of many.
“I think my booth went over pretty well,” stated Cindy, a representative for Discovery Toys from Mandan. “Small towns are the best. It was steady all throughout the day. The music and food was just an added bonus. I had so much fun, maybe Watford City should consider having this event twice a year!”
Other vendors had similar feelings.
“It has been a bigger turnout than I expected,” stated Emma of BabyMod Boutique. “It has been adventurous with the rain and all, but I would definitely do this again next year. I have been very happy with it.”
As the food vendors and street vendors were a hit, the car show, dancing kids, and music helped make the day.
The ribs were gobbled up quickly as teams served 3,000 pounds of ribs within the first hour, but no one walked away hungry.
“That’s a beautiful thing right there,” stated a member of the Smokey Bakken Boys team as he showed off their ribs. “Nothing like biting into something spicy just to be greeted with the sweetness in the middle.”
Once everyone’s bellies were full and the sun went down, Ribfest-goers enjoyed two-stepping and jitterbugging the night away - full moon and all.
And when it was time to go home, the buzz was, “What a successful Ribfest!”