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Ready for a ruckus

Rib event returns with a car show, kids activities, and live music

Mindy Hoover, of Fort Dodge, bites right into one of the rib samples in 2019 during the Rural Iowa Barbeque Society Rib Ruckus in downtown Fort Dodge. Barbecue, a car show, and rock ‘n’ roll music will all be part of the scene in downtown Fort Dodge when Rib Ruckus returns on Aug. 21.

The all-day event, which will be held around City Square Park, is sponsored by the Rural Iowa Barbecue Society. Admission is $15. After taking 2020 off, there are a few new wrinkles added to this year’s event. "One of the things we are excited about is being able to add our Smoke and Chrome car show,” said Tim Mapel, an organizer for the vent. “It’s a car, truck, and bike show. We are encouraging anyone with classic cars, show cars, trucks, custom trucks, bikes to come down and join us for that. We hope that will be a good addition and help grow the event.”

THE CAR SHOW will be located on the south end of the square. There is a $20 entry fee per vehicle to enter the car show.

“That $20 does admit two people to the event, so it becomes a $10 savings,” Mapel said. “And there will be awards for the car show.”

Jonathan Meek, of Fort Dodge, shows off the steak he just finished cooking at the Rural Iowa Barbecue Society Rib Ruckus in 2019. His fellow Team Meat BBQ member Cory Oberhelman, at left, held the phone to precisely time the cooking. Meanwhile, a cornhole tournament will begin at 11 a.m. Cost is $40 to enter. Mapel said that also admits two people into Rib Ruckus.

“The Tailgaters got the cornhole tournament going,” Mapel said. “That’s been an upcoming star over the last year or so. We have gotten a lot of support with cornhole projects from The Attig and Hobbs Weather Page. Chadd Attig is kind of a cornhole connoisseur.”

Meanwhile, craft vendors will be set up on the green space on the east side of the Fort Dodge Public Library.

“These will all be local vendors,” Mapel said. “We have some very talented people in our area. We want to make sure we can shine a little light on them and reach a niche or a market.”

There is a $25 vendor fee or vendors can elect to donate a $25 value gift basket to be auctioned off or raffled, Mapel said.

Jaxen McNeil, 7, of Fort Dodge, along with Braxton Michael, 7, also of Fort Dodge, serve up samples of the ribs McNeil made with her dad, Rusty McNeil, during the Rural Iowa Barbecue Society Rib Ruckus in 2019. Kids' activities will also be offered throughout the day. The Tailgaters will be bringing games like cornhole for kids, bucket ball, ladder golf, disc golf game, giant pong and ping pong to the event. All kid's activities are free. Admission for children 12 and under is free.

“Bring your kids and turn them loose,” Mapel said.

LIVE MUSIC will start at noon with Adam Whitehead, a country music artist from Pella.

“All said and done I think we have put together, I think we have put together probably one of the best lineups in the state within the last year,” Mapel said. “Adam Whitehead will open the day for us. He’s a must see. He’s a brilliant performer. Excellent voice. Adam has a heck of a following. For being a solo act, I would choose him over a lot of groups.”

Section 7, a cover band that plays songs by Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, and Poison, will take the stage next at 3 p.m.

Kylee Mapel, 15, of Fort Dodge, finishes off a few sample pieces of ribs and steak during the Rural Iowa Barbecue Society Rib Ruckus in 2019. At 6 p.m., Lone Tree Revival will perform.

“Some of the most talented group of musicians I’ve heard in a while,” said Mapel when describing Lone Tree Revival. “That’s locally and throughout the state. Lone Tree Revival is Lone Tree Revival and that’s all that needs to be said. Those guys are fantastic. If you’ve never had the opportunity to see them perform, you are missing out.”

Headlining Rib Ruckus will be AC/DC cover band Shoot To Thrill, of Omaha, Nebraska. That group will take the stage at 9 p.m.

“I’ve been in the entertainment business for almost 20 years,” Mapel said. “I’ve seen a number of AC/DC tributes and I can assure you Shoot To Thrill is the best tribute I’ve seen. You can close your eyes and simply listen and you will swear on your second grandchild removed that you are there listening to AC/DC.

“These guys have video production that comes with their performance. There will be some effects. They dress the part, their mannerisms are down. Every aspect. And the lead singer, I cannot say enough — I don’t know how that man does to his voice, you wait, it will be like you’re there watching AC/DC. He has that scream in his voice, that iconic AC/DC voice. And then he comes off the stage and talks and you’re like how the hell? He is a totally different person on stage.”


Of course, the event would not be called Rib Ruckus without any ribs.

Limited barbecue sampling begins at noon. A rib dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. while supplies last.

Cooks for the barbecue competition will start arriving at 6 a.m. Competition turn-in time is 4:30 p.m.

Cost for barbecue teams is a $75 entry fee and admits three people into the event.

Mapel said 15 teams have registered so far with another five that could potentially register.

Prestage Foods of Iowa is donating 1,900 pounds of ribs for the event.

“We talked to our number one sponsor, Prestage Foods of Iowa,” Mapel said. “Those guys are phenomenal. Our event would not be possible without the support of Prestage. Prestage is graciously donating us 1,900 pounds of ribs to ensure we can provide rib sampling throughout the afternoon and pull off the rib dinner come 5:30 p.m.”

Mapel said the sampling in the afternoon will be limited.

“It’s more of a snack kind of deal,” he said.

During the Rib Ruckus in 2019, the barbecue teams were allowed to serve ribs during the day. Oftentimes at competitions, that is not the case. But an unforeseeable challenge caused Mapel to allow it.

One of the teams traveling from the Des Moines area was involved in a crash. That team was planning to provide much of the food for the day.

“They rolled their vehicle, totaled their vehicle, their cooker — everything,” Mapel said. “We lost all the food we were supposed to have for sampling, so we had to make a last-minute determination to allow teams to serve ribs. Coming into this year now and looking back we thought why not do it on purpose this year.”

Having the cooks serve the ribs also allows them a chance to get credit for their hard work.

“The one thing we do different than a lot of places, we don’t pool all of our food into one place,” Mapel said. “We allow our cookers to prepare and cook, and I want those cookers to have recognition. You will start at a general location and you will walk around to different barbecuers to sample. People will be able to visit with our cookers, make a little more personal. Sitting right next to Prestage Foods on the most important list is those cookers. Without those cookers, we don’t cook the 1,900 pounds. Those guys work hard. Each and every person there cooking, you can almost guarantee they’ve been there since 6 a.m. Whatever we can do as the Rural Iowa Barbecue Society to make this beneficial then we will do that. The least we can do for our cookers is let them have that recognition.”

The square will be closed all day for the event.

A significant portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Webster County Drug Court Alumni.

Webster County Drug Court Alumni was founded in 2021. Its mission is to fund sober social activities and help Drug Court participants with financial struggles.

“At some point it will be a breakthrough organization that will be an asset to the community,” Mapel said. “If we can help them get it off the ground then it’s worth it.”

Bikes for Tykes, a partnership between Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota and Alpha Media, will also see a share of the proceeds. What: Rib Ruckus Live barbecue competition, barbecue dinner, all-day live entertainment, kids activities, car/truck and bike show, cornhole tournament Where: City Square Park near Fort Dodge Public Library When: Aug. 21, gates open at 11 a.m. Cost: $15, age 12 and under admitted free

Schedule of events 6 a.m. – Grounds open to contestants, participants 8 a.m. – Registration/check in for cornhole tournament 11 a.m. – Gates open to public 11 a.m. — Cornhole tournament begins Noon – Adam Whitehead takes the stage Noon — Limited barbecue sampling begins Noon — Deadline for “Smoke and Chrome” car show participants 3 p.m. – Section 7 Band takes the stage 4:30 p.m. – Barbecue competition turn-in time 5:30 p.m. – Barbecue rib dinner begins WHILE SUPPLIES LAST ∫ Rib Ruckus has 1,900 lbs of ribs coming courtesy of Prestage Foods of Iowa 6 p.m. – Lone Tree Revival takes the stage 8 p.m. – Awards / raffle 9 p.m. sundown – Shoot To Thrill takes the stage REPRINTED FROM FORT DODGE MESSENGER


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