Honoring the founder

KCBS teams to vote for new award
in the late Garrett’s honor

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(Aug. 11, 2006) – Jeff Garrett, founder of the Madison Ribberfest, died unexpectedly on Oct. 30, 2005. He knew how to bring people together and get things done, and he knew how to get them to reach into their pocketbooks and support a new festival or community initiative. He was perfect for the role as executive vice president of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, a position he held until his death.

Jeff Garrett

Jeff Garrett

In addition to the successful Madison Ribberfest, Garrett conceived of three other community events that have become popular attractions in Madison: the chamber’s Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew food and music event held on Main Street in October; the chamber’s first Texas Hold’Em poker tournament; and the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival, which held its inaugural event in May.
He had charm and appeal and was known throughout the community for his warmth and friendliness. He was constantly planning “the next move” or new ideas, even as he finished the final plans on his current project. His ability to rally people to his side and get them involved in his new ideas was the secret to his success, his friends say.
That is why Shawn Auxier, chairman of the Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned professional cooking contest at the Madison Ribberfest, came up with the idea to honor the late founder by naming a special award in his memory. The “GattoPuin Award” will be presented on the Blues Bash stage during the awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19.
Lisa Garrett, Jeff’s widow, said she was asked to come up with something her husband said often or something he always talked about. She said that after giving it some thought, she remembered how proud he was of the awards he earned during his career as a Boy Scout.
In 1973, Garrett earned the highest honor of Eagle Scout and then a special “Order of the Arrow” award as well. During a vigil for the “Order of the Arrow” award, he was given an Indian name.
“They were trying to figure out how to say he likes to eat, but came up with something else instead,” Lisa Garrett said.
Jeff was given the name “Gattopuin,” which means “the hungry one.” She laughed and said, “He was always hungry.” She thought the name would be perfect for a barbecue contest award.
The new “Gattopuin Award” during the Indiana State Barbecue Cook-Off will be an award on which the the participating pro division teams will vote. The teams will be judged on friendliness, love of barbecue and helpfulness. Lisa said they are the personality traits, along with his “wicked sense of humor,” for which Jeff will always be remembered.
Teams will choose who among them best fits those characteristics. The winner of the award will receive free entry into the next year’s contest, a value of $200.

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