Backyard BBQ Blast

Amateur contestants savor experience
while having fun grilling

Popular Friday event gives locals
a fun way to enjoy Ribberfest

Kristi Whitehill
Staff Writer

Greg Withered, Jennifer Thompson, Donie Romans

Photo by Kristi Whitehill

Daddy Bob’s Burnt
Offering amateur
cooking team includes
(from left) Greg
Withered, head chief
Jennifer Thompson
and Donnie Romans.

(Aug. 9, 2008) – The Madison Courier-sponsored Backyard BBQ Blast is a competition for grillers who just want to come out and grill. Many stay in the amateur division with a focus on fun, while others get bit by the grilling experience and move up to the professional circuit.
Daddy Bob’s Burnt Offerings has been in the amateur division for five years with no intent to move to the professional circuit. The team started when Clifty Engineering was given a VIP tent. Clifty Engineering sponsored an invitation for employees to come out and barbecue.
“We tried it, and we had a good time that first year, so we kept coming back,” said Jennifer Thompson, head chief and veteran team member.
Greg Withered, a cook for Outback Steakhouse at the Kentucky Speedway, joined the team last year. “It was a blast to have people brag on my cooking. People will take a sample and come back and ask me for my secrets,” he said.
Last year the team took third place in the “game” category. Two years ago they were awarded the Miss Congeniality award. This year the team has been retooled, and the members are expecting to see results from the changes. They have added a new member to the team in Donnie Romans, also a cook for Outback Steakhouse at the Kentucky Speedway.
“This year we are going to up the tempo. We are out to get all we can,” Romans said.
In order to bring home first place, they will have to take it from last year’s “Best Team” winner, Hog Rock.
Hog Rock members come from as far as Cincinnati. Each year they dress up in Hawaiian gear, hand out lais and play rock music at their cooking booth.
Amateur cooker Jerry Ralston of Madison is the lead chief for the team, Shu-b-qu. He said winning isn’t the only thing.

Backyard BBQ Blast Teams
for 2008 Madison Ribberfest
(Entries as of 8-7-08)

• Sena Family Smokers; Don & Dave Sena; Cincinnati, Oh.
• Nick’s Pit; Matt & Nick Sena; Cincinnati, Oh.
• Little Sisters Bar-B-Q; Traci & Gina Sena; Cincinnati, Oh.
• Up-N-Smoke; John Webb; Vernon, Ind.
• Buttrubbers BBQ; Chris Elrod; Shelbyville, Ind.
• Olivia & Logan’s Finest; Roger Kavanaugh; Versailles, Ind.
• Pig N’ Boots; Helen Bertsch; Waterford, Mich.
• Daddy Bob’s Burnt Offerings; Jennifer Thompson; Madison, Ind.
• Smokey Treats; Jon Speckman; Cincinnati, Oh.
• Shu-B-Que 1; Jerry Ralston, Madison, Ind.
• Shu-B-Que 2; Jerry Ralston, Madison, Ind.
• Backyard Grub Grillers, Merrill Simmerman, Indianapolis, Ind.
• Pit Crew BBQ; Bill Stiltner; Clearfield, Ky.
• Big Sam’s Pig Paint BBQ’ Charlie Hawkins; Louisville, Ky.
• Smoke Eaters BBQ; Lynn Rekeweg; Beech Grove, Ind.
• Bob’s Sittin Chicken; Bob Stohlman; Cincinnati, Oh.
• Steel Smokin’ BBQ; Don & Robyn Hollman; Butler, Ind.
• Smokey Buoys Bar-B-Que; Jim McPherson; Scipio, Ind.
• Pork-N-U BBQ 1; Todd Richards; Madison, Ind.
• Pork-N-U BBQ 2; Todd Richards; Madison, Ind.
• Hog Rock; Don & Loreda Pritchard; Fletcher, Ohio.

“If you happen to win, then that is good. But the satisfaction is in enjoying the food with friends and strangers.”
This is the third year for his team that includes Rick Schulaey, Bob Schmidt, Mike Griffin, Don Ward and Mark Schultz. “This is a big team, but then everyone can rotate in, so there is freedom to come and go.”
He thought about going pro but reconsidered due to the travel, the all night cooking and just the fact that the professional is more competitive.
Dave Dilk, Jason McAfee, Gary Liter are also members of the the team. Dilk, who says he likes the competition of the Backyard Blast said, “Last year, we won Best Rub, but nothing we cooked that the rub was on even placed.”
Big Butt BBQ is not limited to the competition of grilling meat. McAfee, known for his deep fried corn, said, “It is the best corn you ever had in your life.”

Steve Liter, Dave Dilk, Jason McAfee, Gary Liter

Photo by Kristi Whitehill

Big Butt BBQ (from left)
includes Steve Liter, Dave Dilk,
Jason McAfee and Gary Liter.
The four are from Madison.

For Gary Liter, the family time is the most important part of the event. “We are all family, and this is a good event to get together with family.”
Steve Creech, an amateur-turned-pro, warns amateurs that “becoming a serious smoker is additive.” His first time competing was at the 2004 Madison Ribberfest. He remembers a slight drizzle all day long.
“I went around the corner and saw the big boys and thought I could do this.” He had “cooked hogs on the Ohio River for 20 years” when he heard about the event through a friend. Even after moving to Ohio, he still comes back for the Ribberfest.
Visitors are welecome to stroll the Backyard BBQ Blast and sample the fare throughout the evening. The event will take place along Vaughn Drive just east of the festival grounds. No Ribberfest wristband is necessary to enter the event.

• For information on entering the event, call the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (812) 265-2956 or visit: www.MadisonRibberfest.com.

Back to 2008 Ribberfest Articles.



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