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Posted 8/15/17 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

From its humble beginnings in 2004 over the years Watford City’s Ribfest has grown to become the city’s premier summer event. In its formative years, the Chamber of Commerce’s idea behind Ribfest was simple. They wanted an event that would attract people to the city’s downtown. And they wanted an event that would provide people with an opportunity to eat a different type of food than they normally would. And ideally, the event would be able to attract teams that would compete against each other.
A rib cooking contest seemed to solve all of those goals and the first Best of the West Ribfest was born.
To those of us that helped organize the first Ribfest, we had dreams of this event becoming something that had drawing power. The power to get people to stop what they were doing or planning to do and make Watford City a destination. And over the years it accomplished that.
The event grew from the days when just a handful of teams showed up to cook their ribs on family-sized home barbecue grills to today where teams are arriving with the same type of competitive cookers that are used in some of the biggest rib cooking contests in the nation. To say that the event and the competition has stepped up a notch in the last 13 years would have to be an understatement.
But, what hasn’t changed over time is the overwhelming response from the people that attend Watford City’s Ribfest. While there is never an actual count of how many people attend Ribfest, the one known is that they show up hungry and no matter how many pounds of ribs are prepared, they are quickly consumed.
This year, it was no exception.
Once again, no one can say how many people were packed into the city’s three blocks of Main Street last Friday that were lined with Ribfest teams, vendors and other food booths.
All that is known for sure is that in just over one hour, over 7,000 pounds of ribs were consumed. Was it the 4,000 people that the organizers are estimating? Or was it more or less? You can do your own estimating by guessing how many people you think it takes to eat 7,000 pounds of ribs in less than 90 minutes when they have to stand in line at least 10 minutes to get a 4-rib sample.
While this year’s ideal weather played into the Best of the West Ribfest success, so did having the Church of Cash and Little Texas play in free concerts, along with lots of other entertainment for the entire family.


If the weather cooperates on Monday, Aug. 21, people in the United States will be treated to the first solar eclipse that will be visible across the country in 99 years.
There is some good and bad news for those of us in McKenzie County that would like to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The bad news is that McKenzie County is not in the eclipse’s direct path, which runs from Oregon to Georgia. So that means that we will not see the total eclipse. But the good news is that we should be able to witness about 80 percent of the eclipse as the moon passes between the earth and the sun.
The eclipse will begin at about 11:29 a.m. CST on Monday and end at about 2:09 p.m. CST.
However, unless you have protective eyewear that has been approved to view a solar eclipse, do not look directly at the sun. Regular sunglasses or prescription sunglasses do not provide the protection needed to prevent serious eye damage.