Ribs, Rods & Rock ‘n Roll to gear up Sept. 9

Last years Ribs, Rods & Rock n Roll event in Vermillion filled the citys Main Street with hundreds of visitors each day interested in taking in the car show, the musical concerts, and the delicious barbecued ribs. Downtown will soon be the center of activity once again when this years event kicks off Sept. 9. (File photo)

There are literally dozens of reasons to be excited about the upcoming Ribs, Rods & Rock 'n Roll event coming up in Vermillion this weekend.

The music. The car show. The smell and taste of finely barbecued ribs.

This year, pigskins along with barbecued pork will be added to the two-day celebration. On Saturday afternoon, people who visit Vermillion will be encouraged to also take in the home-opener Coyote football game at 4 p.m. in the DakotaDome, and then return to downtown Vermillion after the gridiron contest for a concert by Kory and the Fireflies.

The annual event will kick off Friday, Sept. 9 in downtown Vermillion with live music, food and beer. The Rib Fest food court and beer garden in the downtown business district will open at 5 p.m. and stay open until 1 a.m. Saturday.

These performers provided entertainment to the crowds that gathered at last year's Ribs, Rods and Rock 'n Roll celebration. Music is a key component to the annual event, and this year is no exception, with the Old Funk Riot Band, the Autumn Road Band, the Main Avenue Warehouse and Kory and the Fireflies all scheduled to perform. (Photo by David Lias)

Also getting the festivities off to a grand start Friday at 5 p.m. will be performances by the Old Funk Riot Band. At 7 p.m., the Autumn Road Band is scheduled to perform, and at 9 p.m., Main Avenue Warehouse, an eight-piece band with horns, will fill downtown Vermillion with music.

Other attractions that will be available at 5 p.m. that evening include a CorTrust Family Fun Area that will include sidewalk vendors.

Saturdays activities begin with the Eagle Rider Charity Poker Run breakfast at 9:30 a.m.

Registration for the Classic Car and Cycle Show and Shine will be held from 9 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.

As he did last year, Larry Mart will present a corn cob cooking demonstration at 2 p.m. From 2 to 3:30 p.m., peoples choice public BBQ judging will be held, and the South Dakota BBQ Championship awards will be presented at 4 p.m.

The 2011 Ribs, Rods & Rock n Roll will conclude Sept. 10 with the 9 p.m. concert by Kory and the Fireflies.

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 Vermillions 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 protgs 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 Rolls website at http://sdbbq.us.

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