Competition heats up at second annual Rockin’ Rib Fest

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September 22, 2006

This year's Rockin' Rib Fest is going on right now in downtown Augusta.

It's the second year for the festival, which raises money for the Jenny Clark Scholarship Fund.

The teams have been out all day setting up and getting ready for tomorrow's big competition.

The twenty teams from three different states are camped out in “Rib City”, ready to share their ribs with Augusta, and more importantly, the judges--hoping to win tomorrow's top prize and bragging rights.

The teams spent the day unloading trailers, setting up tents, and firing up the almighty grills. Some even brought their lucky mascots.

“Rufus is the epitome of barbeque,” Smoke Shack team member Scott McDaniel said of the pig statue the team brought. “Rufus is a chick magnet. I mean look at him.”

But tomorrow, it all comes down to the judges...and competition is stiff.

“The who's who of the rib community is right here in Augusta,” said a Bojangles team member.

McDaniel and his wife Cindy are three time state champs.

“These boys were lucky last year because we weren't here,” McDaniel said. “But we're here this year.”

They were one of the first teams to arrive, and they came with their game face on.

“I'm extremely confident,” said McDaniel. “I'm a three time South Carolina state champion, and I cook one of the best ribs out here. If someone beats me out here, then they're going to have a heck of a rib, I can tell you that right now.”

But “Big Tom” Price hopes to give Smoke Shack a run for their money. “We came down last year and had a great time and finished second, and that's not good enough. We want to be number one!” he says.

And Fatz Cafe wants their slice of the pie too.

“We're looking to try and win a contest this year,” said David Shaver of Fatz. “I don't know if we'll do it, but we're trying, and we'll see what happens.”

And a little friendly competition never hurts.

“It is about the prize money somewhat, but it's more about the bragging rights than anything else,” McDaniel said.

Tickets are $7 at the gate, which includes both days. Children under twelve are free.

Sixteen bands will be playing throughout the festival, and vendors will be here with plenty of goods to sell. There are also games for the kids and a motorcycle show.

But of course, the big event is the rib tasting and judging which will start tomorrow at noon.