2009 Madison Ribberfest

Iowa couple notches sixth title
this year with win in Madison

Iowa's Smokey D's BBQ earns title
with first place in ribs

By Don Ward

Smokey D's BBQ wins

Photo by Don Ward

Sherry and Darren Warth
(center) of Iowa's Smokey
D's BBQ collect their Grand
Champion trophy. From left
are Ribberfest staff Drew
Garrett, the Warths, Jeff
Frazier of title sponsor
Gaylor Inc., and Ribberfest
Director Kathy Ayers.

If there is such a thing as a dynasty in barbecue cooking competitions, then Darren and Sherry Warth would be it this year on the Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned circuit. The couple from Des Moines, Iowa, won their unprecedented sixth competition this year by taking the Grand Champion trophy and $2,500 winner's check at the 2009 Madison Ribberfest.
The Warths needed just one more victory the following week in the season's last major competition to try and make it a perfect seven, which would automatically qualify them for the prestigious Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue competition this October in Lynchburg, Tenn.


2009 Madison
RIbberfest Kansas City
Barbeque Society
Results from judging
Aug. 22, 2009,
in Madison, Ind.

Top 10 Overall Results
(Place, Team, Hometown, Points)
1. Iowa's Smokey D's BBQ, Des Moines, Iowa, 676.0002
2. Hickory Flats BBQ, Versailles, Ind., 660.5716
3. Twyford BBQ & Catering, Jacksonville, Ill., 657.1428
4. Moonswiners, Fern Creek, Ky., 656.5712
5. Quau, Brimfield, Ill., 652.5714
6. Steel Smokin' BBQ, Butler, Ind., 644.0000
7. The Flying Burritos, Jasper, Ind., 641.7138
8. Smoky River BBQ, Spiceland, Ind., 640.5716
9. Fowl Butt BBQ, Decatur, Ind., 640.5710
10. Getta Que, Fairborn, Ohio 639.9996

Local Teams:
16. The Ribberbest Gang, Madison, Ind. 627.4288
25. Indiana Bones, North Vernon, Ind., 619.4280
28. Wildcat BBQ, Madison, Ind., 614.2846
35. Seymour Smokin' Butts, Seymour, Ind., 602.8570
41. Pig Pak, Madison, Ind., 595.4276
45. ACME BBQ, Madison, Ind., 586.8568
53. R Gang, Madison, Ind., 575.4278
59. Butts N Racks, Hanover, Ind., 545.7142

Even without a seventh victory, the couple are likely candidates considering they will be entered in several drawings to earn an berth in the Tennessee event. The Madison Ribberfest victory automatically qualified them for the year-end KCBS American Royal, held Oct. 1-4 in Kansas City, Mo.
"We are definitely on a roll; it's amazing," Warth, 41, said Aug. 22, immediately after collecting his large wooden cutting board trophy in Madison. "We did a lot better here than we did last year – that's for sure."
The Warths made their third consecutive appearance in Madison and had never won anything. they made up for that in grand fashion, then received dozens of congratulatory handshakes from their friends and fellow competitors as they slowly made their way back to their truck and RV.
The outscored their opponents by capturing first place in pork ribs, fifth in pork, fourth in brisket and 12th in chicken. After those four required competition categories, the team also collected additional points by placing 31st in sauce.
Versailles, Ind.-based Hickory Flats BBQ, led by Paul Everman, won second place as the Reserve Grand Champion. Last year's Madison Ribberfest defending champ Twyford's BBQ & Catering of Jacksonville, Ill., took third place. Moonswiners, led by Chad and Christine Hayden of Fern Creek, Ky., who won here in 2007, placed fourth.

Darren and Sherry Warth

Photo by Don Ward

Darren and Sherry
Warth win sixth
BBQ compitition.

The Warths' six victories leads the country. Only two other teams have won four each this year. "That puts a target on our backs, for sure," Warth said, laughing.
The couple owns two barbecue restaurants in Des Moines called Smokey D's BBQ and are preparing to open a third. They do not open the restaurant on the weekends so they can travel to barbecue competitions.
Both have full-time jobs during the week. Darren is vice president of a logistics transportation management company, and Sherry is an office manager at a plumbing company.
On the weekends, however, Darren does the cooking at competitions and Sherry's role is to assist in presentation, tasting and selecting the pieces to be judged.
"It started out as a hobby, then we started catering, then we opened the restaurants," Darren said.

Hickory Flats BBQ

Photo by Don Ward

Hickory Flats BBQ win
second place at the 2009
Madison Ribberfest.

"Darren doesn't like to eat barbecue when he is competing," Sherry said. "So that's my job to taste it." He says competition barbecue is "designed to get the 'wow' factor.
"This is my cocaine; it's my addition," Warth said of barbecue competitions.
They travel from March to November taking part in such events. Madison Ribberfest, the largest of six KCBS events in Indiana this year, boasted 61 teams and could have accepted more. But organizers opted to cap the entries because of lack of space to put them all.
Already, the teams line up along Vaughn Drive in front of Crystal Beach swimming pool, a block up Broadway and Vine streets on either side.
This year's event was the second-largest after hosting 63 teams in 2007. Last year's event boasted 59 teams.

Back to 2009 Ribberfest Articles.



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