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The fragrance of secret spices filled Kenmare’s city park Saturday afternoon as eight teams vied for the “Best Ribs” title at the city’s fifth annual Rib Rally.

6/20/12 (Wed)

Rib Rally, Classy Car & Hog Roundup . . . Saturday was
a fun day for anyone who stopped downtown for the rib cookoff,
car and motorcycle show.  The annual event was well attended
and also included a 5K Fun Run/Walk earlier
in the day at the new walking path.


Best cook . . . Josh Cook was a member of the team judged to have
the tastiest ribs.  Cooking with Cook were Troy Hedberg and Ron Jensen.


By Caroline Downs

The fragrance of secret spices filled Kenmare’s city park Saturday afternoon as eight teams vied for the “Best Ribs” title at the city’s fifth annual Rib Rally.

The competition was heated, too, with some teams focused on the action at their own grills, like the long-running team of Eric Ganes and Jerry Mickelsen, former champions of the event.

Another team attending to their own beef was the Town & Country Credit Union team. Members Ron Jensen, Troy Hedberg and Josh Cook had an assembly line to serve ribs to their hungry customers.

Members of the “Lei-Z Day Inn PaRIBdise” team adopted the “it’s five o’clock somewhere” mentality for the day, with a tropical party theme and beach costumes. Tina Zietz and Sandy Nelson prepared plates of ribs to go while Roger Mathews stayed behind the grill.

The “Five Fat Guys” worked as fast as the flames allowed, with Jamie Livingston, Larry Nore, Lance Kalmbach, Arlen Gartner and Joe Staael taking turns at the cooking trailer borrowed from SunPrairie Grain. “I’m not really that fat,” Nore said as he sliced racks of ribs for customers.

Sponsors for their group included Gartner’s Jack & Jill, the Quilt Inn, Nore Auto & Trailer Sales, and SunPrairie Grain. “Every dollar we make in rib sales goes to the Kenmare Theatre project,” said Livingston, referring to the ongoing fund-raiser to purchase a new digital projector.

Previous champions Cameron and Jayette Young used the Rib Rally as a way to say goodbye to the community with a sign that proclaimed “Out with the Young, In with the Younger!” The Youngs, who are leaving Kenmare for Cameron’s new position as an instructor and FFA advisor in Edgeley, ND, introduced Kenmare’s new vo-ag instructor, Mitch Becker of the Minot area, to the crowd as part of their team.

Not to be outdone, some of Cameron Young’s FFA students created their own rib station known as “The Old Family...Not the Youngs,” complete with family members named “Can and Janette, and kids Bryan, Addison, Brandon and Trey” to spoof the real names of the Young family. KHS graduates Maria Hager, Ashley Barnhart and Caleen Crider, who billed themselves as the “2011 National Meats Runner-Up,” were joined by area FFA advisors Troy Enga and Gary Martens.

“Our number one goal is to dethrone Mr. Young before he leaves town,” Martens declared.

While the Fat Boys were swapping stories around the grill and the two FFA teams were competing for attention, the “Lei-Z Day Inn PaRIBdise” team walked off with the People’s Choice and Best Theme awards for the Rib Rally.

The Best Ribs trophy went to the Town & Country Credit Union team, where Jensen was thrilled with his victory. “I didn’t want to share my participation ribbon this year,” he said.

Two new teams entered the 2012 rib cook-off. Great Northern Trucking was represented by Joey and Brianna Matejovsky, Kim Mogren and Larry Melgaard.

While Joey cooked sizzling ribs, Brianna joked about the team’s shirts she created the previous night with iron-on decals. “I just wanted to make some T-shirts,” she said, then laughed. “We’re rookies, but I wanted to do something fun in the community, and Joey makes good ribs at home!”

The Thelen clan, known for their performances in the annual GooseFest Chili Cook-off, expanded to smoked ribs this year. Several men in the family, including Kevin, Scott, Larry, Calvin, Nick and Vernon, worked the grill. “We’ve been doing the ribs since we got the smoker,” Kevin said as his companions watched over the meat.

All those ribs fed a hungry crowd, who took time to stroll along the west side square and view the automobiles and motorcycles parked for the Classy Car & Hog Roundup.

Several prizes were awarded to proud vehicle owners, including the People’s Choice Award in cars to Neil Olson of Tioga for his 1959 Chevrolet convertible.

Norm Waller of Kenmare claimed the trophy for the Best Truck with a 1971 Chevrolet C-10. Jim Schmit of Kenmare took top honors for cars built before 1960 with his 1923 T-Bucket, and Dennis Heer of New Town won the same award for cars made after 1960 with a 1973 Plymouth Cuda.

The Best of Show trophy went to Tim and Diane Lesman of Westhope for their 1951 Chevrolet Skyline.

Among the motorcycles featured, Kenmare’s Duane Dockter won the People’s Choice award for his 2009 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail. Frank Anderson of Donnybrook received the Best Motorcycle trophy for his 2011 Harley-Davidson Ultra.

As the car owners and rib teams packed up to go, Jamie Livingston of the “Five Fat Guys” promised his team would be back to win the 2013 Rib Rally.

“We’re writing a new business plan for next year,” he said. “We’ve been concentrating on quantity and making sure everybody got fed. Now that there are more teams cooking in this, we’ll work on the quality of our recipe.”

All Kenmare Rib Rally visitors are invited back next June to determine if Livingston’s prediction is accurate, and to savor more of the best ribs grilled anywhere in North Dakota.


Old next to new . . . The bright yellow car, above left, is the
newest version of the Chevy Camaro, over 40 years newer than
the pale yellow 1968 first generation Chevy Camaro.