June 5, 2012
A record 17,000 people packed into the Argus Leader RibFest last Saturday night to enjoy rising country music sensation Gloriana, helping the 15th annual summer kick-off event reach 45,000 total attendance this year.
Produced by SMG, which manages the Sioux Falls Arena and Orpheum Theater Center, the four day event is billed as South Dakota’s biggest backyard barbeque, and this year it lived up to that billing once again.
About 9,000 patrons made their way to the front of the Mike’s Hard Lemonade stage for 1980’s hit maker Night Ranger on Thursday night on a nearly perfect spring evening in Sioux Falls.
Despite clouds and some brief rain showers, Friday’s crowd reached 11,000, with the help of “Free Friday” tickets from Campbell’s Supply and local headliner The Spill Canvas.
Great weather welcomed a hungry crowd on Saturday, as they enjoyed several local bands, the 3rd annual Ag United Competitive Rib Eating Contest, and the music of Gloriana, presented by Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse. The attendance surged as 600 motorcycle riders rumbled in after sponsor J&L Harley-Davidson’s annual Bikes and Babe’s poker run.
Thanks to sponsors Sanford Health and DealChicken.com, Sunday’s annual KidzFest was admission free and brought in over 8,000 people and raised about $1,800 for Cure Kids Cancer through a free will offering, topping last year’s mark of $1,500.
Several awards were handed out over the weekend. After taking home nine consecutive People’s Choice Awards, Desperado’s BBQ Company of Ohio missed out on its tenth straight crown by another popular “ribber,” Willingham’s World Champion BBQ of Memphis. Meanwhile, a group of local judges named their Critic’s Choice selections. Porky ‘n Beans, from Port. St. Lucie, Florida, took the top honors, followed by Aussom Aussie of Australia-- which earned its second straight runner up trophy. Willingham’s added to its trophy collection this year by taking third.
Next year’s event is scheduled for May 30-June 2, 2013.