Madison Ribberfest plans
on schedule for August event

Organizers expect
more cooking contestants this year

By Don Ward

MADISON, Ind. (July 2003) – With only a month remaining before the second annual Madison Ribberfest, committee members say they are on schedule for staging an even larger event this year, which features barbecue, blues and balloons.
The two-day event is scheduled for Aug. 15-16 on the Madison riverfront, with little change to the lineup from last year, except that organizers expect to double the number of judges and cooking competitors in both amateur and pro divisions. A judging school was held in Madison last September to certify more local judges.
The pro cooking event, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and with a $10,000 purse, serves as the Indiana State Championship, since it is the only such event in the state. As such, the winner automatically advances to the KCBS’ national championship.

Pig decorated for Madison Ribberfest

Pig decorated for Madison Ribberfest

Last year’s winning team, “Smokin’ in the Dark” of Springfield, Mo., edged out second place Lee and Bobbie McWright of Music City Pig Pals, based in Nashville, Tenn. The McWrights were named Reserve Champion. Smokin’ in the Dark, comprised of duo Larry Randolph and Brad Rapp, went on to win the national competition in Kansas City last year.
As of late June, only eight pro teams had paid, but it is customary for many teams to arrive and pay at the last minute, said cooking event chairman Shawn Auxier. “I’d love to be at 50 teams, but I don’t expect we’ll get that high. I expect to be in the high 30s or low 40s.”
Last year, 19 teams competed in the pro division, entering seven cooking categories. The judging took place inside the Brown Gym.
The festival also features an amateur division on Friday night and a long lineup of blues bands playing Friday night and all day Saturday. There is also a beer tent, operated by the Madison Jaycees, a midway of vendors selling food and souvenirs, and a kids’ activity area. A concrete pig decorating contest among local businesses is again under way in the weeks leading up to and during the event to fund a scholarship fund. So far 18 of 20 new pigs have been “adopted” by local businesses, with 10 pigs returning from last year. Money is generated through voting for the best pig. The pigs will be on display along Vaughn Drive during the festival.

Burke Jones dislays a sample at the 2002 Judging School

Photo by Don Ward

Burke Jones displays a sample
at the 2002 Judging School.

This year’s bands include Jimmy D., Lee McBee Band and Debbie Davies Band on Friday; and the Doctors’ Band, Blues Devils, Johnny Reed and the House Rockers, Mike Morgan, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, and Duke Tumatoe on Saturday.
The committee this year also is raffling a Southern Yankee cooker, valued at $3,000. Tickets are $1 each. And 200 numbered posters will be sold for $15 each, along with T-shirts at $15 each. Business banner spaces are available along the fence for $100.
Last year’s balloon races failed to get off the ground because of windy conditions, but Friday night’s balloon glow in Milton, Ky., was successful and visible from the Madison side of the Ohio River. Another race attempt will be made this year. Balloon rides are selling for $125 per person this year.
Last year’s event reported a net profit of $3,829, according to chairman Jeff Garrett. With more sponsors and a year under their belts, committee members are optimistic the event will continue to grow.
Garrett had to step aside as chairman this year because of health reasons, but he is still involved in planning the event with new chairperson Kathy Ayers.

• Advance wristband sales have begun and are $15 for both days prior to Aug. 1 and include $10 in food coupons. After Aug.1, the price is the same but without food coupons. Tickets at the gate will be $10 per day. To purchase tickets or balloon rides, call the tourism office at 1-800-559-2956 or (812) 265-2956. Wristbands may also be purchased at the tourism office at 601 W. First St. and at various locations throughout Madison. Or visit the website: www.madisonribberfest.com.

Back to July 2003 Articles.



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