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2017 Reno Tahoe Events and Festivals Brochure

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Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off

Victorian Square in Sparks
August 27, 2008 -September 1, 2008

This year's Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff, the 20th annual, will run Wednesday, August 27 through Monday, September 1, once again transforming the Labor Day holiday on Victorian Square in downtown Sparks into a must-attend culinary, music, craft, and family end-of-summer affair. Daily hours for all the fun - the rib cookers, live entertainment, special kids area and multiple city blocks of craft vendors - are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday; 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday.
Record crowds in 2007 made the decision to add a sixth day worthwhile. Attendance estimates show it to be the biggest cook-off to date, with more than 500,000 visitors and more than 100 tons of ribs served. Large activities within the event, including a world-championship rib-eating contest, and top-notch entertainment - not to mention the best BBQ in the country - all came together to draw massive amounts of people to Victorian Square.

"The Nugget Rib Cook-off has grown over the years into one of the most fun and exciting events for guests from literally all over the world. Last year we again encountered capacity crowds," said Beth Cooney, Executive Director of Marketing at John Ascuaga's Nugget.

Top-name entertainment and a continued multitude of activities are planned. Twenty-four of the country's most celebrated and talented rib cookers will once again feed event goers while competing for a total cash purse of $16,500 and the title of, "Best of the West," - a designation many cookers consider to be the ultimate prize in competitive BBQ. Back to defend its title, Famous Dave's BBQ of Plymouth, MN will face stiff competition from a host of returning champions, including 2005 winner, Butch Lupinetti of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey's "Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ," 2004 winner Tommy Houston of Martinsville, Virginia's "Checkered Pig BBQ," and three-time champion ('00, '02, '03) "Texas Outlaw BBQ," again manned by Jim Clayton of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Returning to this year's Cook-off, the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), the governing body of all stomach-centric sports, will host the second Best in the West Nugget World Rib Eating Championships on Wednesday, August 27. The country's best competitive eaters will vie for $5,000 and the title of World Champion.

The IFOCE conducts more than 90 events annually, including the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY. It's estimated the top competitors will consume eight to nine pounds of meat during the 12-minute competition. Last year's winner, prolific gurgitator Joey Chestnut, is expected to attend, along with more than one dozen other top-flight athletes. The rib eating contest will take place in front of the main stage starting around 5 p.m.

This year's main-stage entertainment lineup so far includes Sol Jibe, Darryl Worley, Greg Kihn, Loverboy and ALO. In addition, the many side stages throughout the Square will offer a variety of music daily. And, new this year, Southern Living Magazine will roll in with its "BBQ on Tour" cooking demonstration caravan, featuring famed competitive BBQ cook Troy Black.

The 19th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off is sponsored by US Bank, City of Sparks, City of Sparks Tourism Committee, Jack Daniels Country Cocktails, Southern Comfort, Curly's Foods, Inc., Morrey Distributing-Budweiser, Kendall-Jackson, Model Dairy, Universal Health Network, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Silver Club, Swire Coca-Cola, Swire Full Throttle, Allstate Insurance, US Smokeless Tobacco, KBUL, KOZZ and KRNV.

The Rib Cook-off is scheduled for an extended Labor Day weekend, Wednesday, August 27 through Monday, September 1, 2008. For advance reservations, event history and information call (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300, or visit

Contact Info

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Phone: 800-648-1177


Victorian Square in Sparks



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