Madison Ribberfest Backyard BBQ Blast
mix cooking, fun
Sena family goes head-to-head in competition
MADISON, Ind. (Aug. 12, 2005) Cincinnati brothers
Nick and Don Sena came to the Madison Ribberfest four years ago for
the blues but stayed for the barbecue. The two found out about the festival
on the Internet and entered the Backyard BBQ Blast, an amateur cooking
by Don Ward
Sena of Cincinnati celebrats his 2002
"Best Sauce" award at the Ribberfest.
Their team won an award for the Best Original Sauce and placed third in
the game-other meats category. Nick and the large Sena family, composed
of 10 brothers and sisters, now attend the event each year.
We like to get together as a family and cook and play cards,
said Nick. Because the family is so large, some members have formed
their own teams and created competition within the family. Gina and
Traci Sena, Nicks sisters, enter pork and poultry from their team,
Little Sisters BBQ, while Don has formed Sena Family BBQ and Nick created
Nicks Pit BBQ.
Ill be making the deer meat this year, said Nick.
Its a big crowd pleaser. You either love it or hate it.
Members of the Sena family hope the judges are enamored with their barbecue.
Judging by professional and amateur judges will begin at 7 p.m. Friday,
Aug. 19. Entries will be judged on flavor, tenderness, texture and appearance.
Teams have the opportunity to enter their special recipes into five
different categories: ribs, pork, beef, poultry and game-other meats.
In addition, each team has the opportunity to be awarded any of the
following special awards: Best Original Sauce, Best Original Spice Rub,
Best BBQ Team and The Peoples Choice Award (determined by donation).
by Don Ward
Sena (right) celebrates his team's 2002 title.
Last year, 42 teams from around the country showed up
to participate in the Backyard BBQ Blast. Teams gathered for a good
time and great barbecue. Visitors came to sample the food and enjoy
the entertainment. Though only 33 teams are confirmed for this year,
just as many teams are expected to show up by the time the festival
begins on Aug. 19-20. Many are attracted to the competition because
of the friendly atmosphere.
The competitors bring different sauces, rubs, methods of cooking and
cookers. Some teams, such as ACME BBQ, have taken the time to customize
their cookers. ACME BBQ converted a normal automobile into what team
member Joe Craig jokingly refers to as the pig truck. Craig,
last years overall winner of the event, says that even his team
may be ready to move to the professional competition next year. Its
a real light-hearted fun competition atmosphere. I dont know if
there is such a thing as bad BBQ, said Craig.
Kevin Phelps, who moved to the area in 2002 from Las Vegas, Nev., has
been barbecuing for more than 20 years. Phelps first competed in the
event last year with his team, Hairys Hawgs, and said he enjoyed
the competition. He said some people take it more seriously than others.
It was a lot of fun even though there was serious competition.
Im a pretty serious ribs and brisket cooker, said Phelps.
by Don Ward
Craig checks the grill temperature.
Despite any difficulties, Hairys Hawgs won Best
Original Sauce for their special recipe. Phelps claims the secret sauce
contains honey. After Hairys Hawgs debut last year, Phelps
said his team is ready to consistently win. Ill be better
prepared this year, said Phelps.
Although competition is tough, camaraderie and learning are a big part
of the event. Mark Auxier and his team, Curly Tail Squealers, compete
every year for local bragging rights but try to learn something
new each year. Compared to when he first began competing, Auxier said
he has made great improvements.
Ive learned a lot about what true barbecue is, said
Before the competition, Auxier practices different recipes for his friends
and family to taste test. Fun is the key. Its all for fun.
If we win something, its icing on the cake for us. We try not
to take it too seriously, but we keep coming back.
by Don Ward
Auxier prepares an entry in the Blast.
The Ribberfest committee has taken time this year to aid
in the learning process by offering barbecuing tips via WORX radio.
The eight -week segment covered topics such as buying meats and various
marinades. The Backyard BBQ Blast is light on competition, heavy
on fun, said Steve Thomas, contest chairman. We dont
judge as severely as the pro teams. Its all about having fun.
Thomas added, Im really looking forward to seeing improvement.
We try to help people with organization. We really made great effort
to teach people about barbecue. We hope it pays off for people. The
more they understand the better it is for everybody.
Thomas said he expects this years competition to directly reflect
past contests. Were growing well and doing good things,
so why fix the door that isnt broken?
The Backyard BBQ Blast, sponsored by the Madison Courier, gives competitors
a welcoming environment in which to gather. Thomas said this amateur
competition is different from others in the area because of its participants.
I think as far as amateurs go, these guys know what theyre
doing. Many are as good as the pros. We hear it from the judges all
the time, he said.
(Entries as of 8-11-05)
Jennifer Thompson; Madison, Ind.
Liquid Smoke; Roger Mogg; Spiceland, Ind.
Life is Good; Dawn Reynolds; Bluffton, Ind.
ACME BBQ; Joe Craig; Madison, Ind.
Smoke-in-Laws; Emmett Charles; Martinsville, Ind.
Barking Pig BBQ; Tim Mangan; Madison, Ind.
Dawg & Dawgettes; Kent Byrd; New Albany, Ind.
Don Sena; Don Sena; Cincinnati
Nicks Pit; Nick Sena; Cincinnati
Hoosier Crawdaddys; Doug Searcy; Straughn, Ind.
Hog Rock; MaryAnn Bennett; Hanover, Ind.
Little Sisters BBQ; Traci Sena, Cincinnati
Madison Porkopolis; Vincent Gordon; Madison, Ind.
B&B BBQ Factory; Brad Lucas, Hope, Ind.
Docs Backyard Grub, Merrill Simmerman, Indianapolis, Ind.
Rich & Three Little Pig; Rich Geglein; Madison, Ind.
Blowin Smoke; Wayne Walker, Allendale, Ill.
Up in Smoke; Michael Fox; Monroe, Ohio
Butt Rubbers BBQ; Chris Elrod; Shelbyville, Ind.
Hungry Hoosiers; Nick Kelp; Bloomington, Ind.
Lerchs BBQ; Dan Breske; Syracuse, Ind.
Smokin Dawgs; Jack Barnes; Lexington, Ind.
Smokin Apple; Don Apple; Greenfield, Ind.
Ridgerunners; Terry Davis; Raywick, Ky.
Hairys Hawgs; Kevin Phelps; Hanover, Ind.
Hickory Flats BBQ; Paul Everman; Versailles, Ind.
Frick & Frack; Jim Hart; Madison, Ind.
Jake Stuart; Jake Stuart; Madison, Ind.
Curly Tail BBQ; Mark Auxier, Madison, Ind.
Calvary BBQ; Mark Auxier, Madison, Ind.
Olivia & Logans Fin; Roger Kavanaugh; Versailles, Ind.
Hackeyland BBQ; Dennie Hackney; Madison, Ind.
Little York Rascals; Todd Chandler; Scottsburg, Ind.
Madison Porkopolis; Richard Scott; Madison, Ind.
Kiyote Kountry; Gilbert Black; Hanover, Ind.
For more information or to order tickets, call
the Madison Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-559-2956
or visit: www.madisonribberfest.com.
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