Familiar ‘flavor’ planned for Ribs, Rods & Rock ‘n Roll

There will be ribs.

There will be rods – specifically classic cars, hot rods and even motorcycles.

And there will be plenty of entertainment for people of all ages as local citizens put the final touches on plans for the upcoming Ribs, Rods & Rock 'n Roll event in Vermillion.

The annual event will kick off Friday, Sept. 10 in downtown Vermillion with the 5 p.m. opening of the Rib Fest food court and beer garden in the downtown business district. Those two venues will stay open until 1 a.m. Saturday.

Other attractions that will be available at 5 p.m. that evening include a CorTrust Family Fun Area that will include sidewalk vendors, and the Eagles Motorcycle Show and Shine.

"The event will be very similar to last year," said Jenny French, a member of the Ribs, Rods & Rock 'n Roll planning committee who is in charge helping to organize the event's barbecue, concessions and food vendors. "This year, however, we added a motorcycle show and shine on Friday night and on Saturday night we're staying open and having another street dance. Last year, the event got over at about 6 or 7 p.m. Saturday, and there were a lot of requests to keep it going. So we got another good band, and we're going to be open and have another street dance Saturday night."

The Hy-Vee entertainment tent will open at 6 p.m. Friday. Entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the Golden Bubbles Band, followed by the Manna Band at 7:30 p.m. Friday's street dance, featuring the band Judd Hoos, starts at 9 p.m.

Saturday's activities begin with the Eagle Rider Charity Poker Run breakfast and registration scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. The poker run will begin at 11 a.m.

Registration for the Classic Car and Cycle Show and Shine will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. The CorTrust Family Fun Area and the Rib Fest Food Court and Beer Garden will re-open at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Judging of the South Dakota BBQ championship will be held from noon to 2 p.m., and the Dakota Classic Cruisers Car and Cycle Show and Shine will be held from noon to 4 p.m.

Musical entertainment will begin Saturday at 1 p.m., with the C.J. Kocher Band, followed by the Public Domain Band at 2 p.m.

A new element to this year's Ribs, Rods & Rock n Roll event will be a corn cob cooking demonstration at 2 p.m. by Larry Mart. From 2 to 4 p.m., people's choice public BBQ judging will be held, and the Tele Jazz Band will perform at 3 p.m.

"There's a lot of interest in the history of Vermillion, dating back to the 1940s when they used to use corn cobs, and Larry (Mart) still cooks that way," French said of the decision to add a corncob cooking demonstration to this year's event. "A lot of the current contestants who use their smoker and have pellet feeders and everything really love to see how it used to be done, and how that all works."

The entire concept of this year's event will, like last year, center around the barbecue contest, she said. "This year, we are trying to have more things for more people. We're having a much bigger children's area, with inflatables and jumping castles and more things for kids to do.

"We're also want to have more non-food vendors – purses and jewelry and toys and crafts," French said. "So, while the guys are at the car show and the motorcycle show, the gals can go to some of those things. We're just trying to make it a little bit bigger, and to have something for everybody, but really the basic thing will be the barbecue contest."

The Car Show Poker Run is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m., and the South Dakota BBQ Championship Award presentation will be held at 4:30 p.m.

Musical entertainment begins again at 6 p.m. Sept. 11, with the Black Cats Band, followed by Paradise Fears at 7:30 p.m.

The 2010 Ribs, Rods & Rock' n Roll will conclude with a street dance that begins at 9 p.m. Sept. 11 to the music of The Kick Back.

About Ribs,
Rods & Rock' n Roll
Ribs, Rods & Rock' n Roll is a Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) sanctioned event held annually in downtown Vermillion. Rids & Robs is the largest competitive barbeque event in the history of South Dakota. The primary purpose of Ribs, Rods & Rock' n Roll is to expand and to promote a successful state event, to celebrate Vermillion's rich barbeque history, and to welcome University of South Dakota students back to Vermillion.

That "barbecue history" can be traced back to 1940, when a group of barbeque enthusiasts from the Norway Township west of Vermillion came up with the idea to host a rib feed at an area know as Wery Grove where the Clay County rodeo grounds is now located. However, the group was faced with a dilemma.

How could they produce quality ribs with a sweet smoky barbequed flavor without a ready supply of hickory, fruitwood or other traditional barbeque heat sources?

Corncobs were a natural choice, but these barbeque pros knew that burning cobs produced a level of heat far too intense to be used for the low and slow heat needed to properly barbeque ribs. This problem was remedied by pre-burning the cobs in a small pile until they cooked down to embers. A scoop shovel was then used to place the coals under the grates of makeshift grills.   

While the Norway Rib Eaters were not the first to cook over cobs, they were the first to turn it into an art form. Their modest size rib feeds grew as time went on. The first rib feed served just over 50 people but in later years, they would prepare over 1,000 pounds of ribs at a single event. In the 1970s, Rib Eater protégés Larry Mart and Paul Bliss cooked over a ton of ribs at a time for several events in the area.

Cooking over corncob embers is a tradition that soon spread throughout South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. It is also a tradition that has been passed along from father to son (in some cases mother to daughter), representing five generations of barbeque tradition in this region. While it is much harder to find cobs today due to the fact that very few farmers shell corn as they did in the past, there are still some hardcore traditionalists that make the effort to find those remaining cobs in an effort to perpetuate a tradition rich in South Dakota history.

For more information, visit Ribs, Rods & Rock' n Roll's website at www.sdbbqchampionship.com.

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