The 25th annual Ribfest Rib Judging, hosted by the Exchange Club of Naperville, indeed was an exciting traveling expedition, weather permitting.
Not only had 15 rib vendors come from destinations throughout the United States to compete for bragging rights and a little cash, this year’s judging event started as it always has in the sponsors’ tent, but ended up in The Barn.
Right after the fourth round of rib-tasting, weather-watchers alerted Ribfest Chairman Mark Wright, also one of the judges, about impending thunderstorms. Immediately, Wright asked all the other judges seated around four round tables to go by golf carts to The Barn because severe thunderstorms threatened their safety. And they did.
Rib-Judging Chairwoman Lori Klemm—who earlier had explained that all the ribs came from the same supplier, and later said cash prizes ranged from $500 to $2,500 in six categories—and her trusted team of volunteers, re-set the judging in the upper level of The Barn along one long table. The youngsters who were judging the Kids’ Choice were seated at another table.
Thanks to their dedication to the cause, the judges rolled with the punches and the competition continued about 30 minutes later to determine the best of the best Exchange Club of Naperville’s Ribfest 2012 Best Ribs and Best Sauce.
Armadillo’s took first-place prize for ribs, and Porky and Bean’s won the top prize for the best sauce (Note: If you check out the trophies exhibited in front of the ribbers, you’ll see others have been prize winners at Exchange Club Ribfest in the past, proving that every year, the judges’ tastes can change and that all the ribbers selected for a spot at Ribfest have been winners.)
Also be mindful of the strict code of judging that is followed because the top prizes are cherished. Poker faces are encouraged as judges are told not to try to influence other judges. Many years ago when PN watched its first Ribfest judging, we learned that “Mmmmmm, Mmmmm,” is not allowed during the tasting for the best ribs and sauce.
1. Armadillo’s (Backing up to Edward Hospital Campus)
2. Desperadoes (Backing up to Edward Hospital Campus)
3. Uncle Bub’s (Backing up to Edward Hospital Campus)
1. Porky N Beans (Near Martin Ave.)
3. Willingham’s (First in line nearest Martin Ave.)
Kid’s Choice for Best Ribs – Tie – Porky N Beans and Armadillo’s