12th Annual Winter Blues Rib Rally

12th Annual Winter Blues Rib Rally
Saturday, March 23, 2024
Pacific Park Fire Station
1501 NE 164th Avenue
Vancouver, WA USA
This is a face-the-judges cook-off where each team will have assigned times to present their chicken and rib entries for judging and feedback. You will have 10 minutes for each meat category so it is important you are not late and the table captain will be strict with the stopwatch so all teams have a full opportunity to benefit from this setup. Entry fee is $100, payable to Dale Groetsema on site the day of the event.
As we did in previous years, we will have two tables judging both meats which enable us to schedule chicken in the first hour and ribs in the second hour and levels the playing field a little bit by giving all the teams about the same amount of time to prepare their entries in each category. This also means you will have your chicken submitted to one table of judges and your ribs to the other table, so you get a good cross-section of feedback.
In addition to the valuable experience for the teams, this event raises money for two good causes. The Vancouver Firefighters Community Action Fund provides emergency funds to families affected by fires in their homes – food, lodging, clothes, whatever they may need in the very short term. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supports research for cures for all types of blood cancers. All of your entry fee, support from the PNWBA, donations from others and monies raised from the Friends and Family potluck all go 50/50 to these two very deserving causes. In 2023, we raised nearly $3.000. Our goal this year is to exceed that milestone of $3,000.

All the rules about a PNWBA cook-off are the same with just two significant exceptions:
1 – This event is meant to replicate a normal cook-off where you have up to 24 hours to prep and cook your meat. Our timeline is much shorter than that, so you will be allowed to prep and season your meat any way you choose prior to arrival and meat inspection. Just no cooking of the meat until after inspection occurs. Meat inspection will be looking only that you are storing your meat safely – clean and cold.
2 – For the judges table, you will turn in a minimum of 6 individual pieces of chicken and 6 individual ribs. You can include more in the turn-in container, if you like but remember that appearance is scored just like a regular event. You will also turn-in, in a separate container, exactly three pieces of chicken and exactly three individual ribs for the firefighters judging. Jane Biehl and Steve Rubin are heading up the judging duties-they will post a roll call for judges in the appropriate forum.

Site inspection will include the normal stuff – fire extinguisher, 3 compartment dish washing, hand washing, and digital thermometer. We are ok if two or more teams want to share some non-cooking equipment but each team MUST have their own current extinguisher and digital thermometer. You also will have access to the large sinks in the truck bay area for washing equipment so you could skip the three compartment setup.
We will perform site inspection when you are ready, ideally in the order of your arrival and will assign your turn-in times at the inspection. You will be given two times, exactly 1 hour apart, for chicken and ribs (to enable up to 10 teams to have the same times for both meats (such as 11:10 and 12:10), we will select two teams to have turn-ins of 11:00 and 1:00. In total, we have room for 12 teams.
Cooks Meeting at 8am is where you will receive your four turn-in containers, foil pans for your potluck meat donations and any last minute instructions. We usually ask each team to tell a little bit about themselves so expect the meeting to last 30 minutes or so. Each team must have at least one representative at the meeting.

Friends and Family Potluck
Once again, we will host the F&F potluck, both for a chance to socialize with your fellow competitors, judges and any first responders that attend but also as a fundraiser for our charities. This event is NOT open to the general public to avoid any conflict with local health department rules. For any additional friends and family you invite, we will be asking for a suggested donation of $10 per person. All of this money will go to the charities.
We are asking all the teams to cook sufficient meat in each category to have leftovers to donate to the potluck. You need a minimum of 9 pieces of chicken and 9 individual ribs for judging, so plan accordingly (cook 16-24 pieces of chicken and 3 slabs of ribs, for example) so you have leftovers to share. Foil pans to hold your meat will be provided at the cooks meeting.
We are also asking each team to further participate by providing a side dish or dessert for the potluck (casseroles, baked beans, creamed corn, brownies, cobblers, etc) which may be prepared on site but do NOT have to be prepared or cooked on site. We are asking the judges to participate by providing a dessert or beverages. Please prepare at least a half-sized foil pan of whatever you are making. Full sized pans are greatly appreciated to allow for leftovers for the first responders.
We will provide all the equipment needed to hold, store, and serve the food. You do not need to provide steam tables or utensils.
Because there are sometimes shortages, any chairs and/or tables you can bring for the potluck are appreciated.

For 2020, and beyond, there are NOT any cash awards handed out. In the past, much of the cash available was donated and this funding source has ended. However, we will still be handing out ribbons and the ever popular hats for the top three teams called in each category. And Jason Hertz will again be producing those amazing trophies.

Time Line
5:00 am – Load in begins (please do not set up prior to this time)
6:00 am – Meat and site inspections begin
8:00 am – Cooks Meeting
10:00 am – Competition Toast (Teams and Judges)
11:00 am – Chicken turn-ins begin (two teams assigned every 10 minutes)
12:00 pm – Chicken turn-ins finished and Judging break
12:10 pm – Rib turn-ins begin (two teams assigned every 10 minutes)
1:10 pm – Rib turn-ins finished
1:30 pm – Friends and Family Potluck
3:00 pm – Awards (or earlier)
5:00 pm – Cleanup and load out completed

We will have an ash can and also some buckets for grease and a dumpster for your trash. Power is limited so let me know if you need it, so we position you close to the outlets. Be sure to bring at least 100′ of extension cord and please limit your power to what you absolutely need to cook. Please police your cook area to make sure we leave it as good as we found it. Protection under your smoker to protect the asphalt is appreciated.
Also, consider what size cooking area you will need. The standard size is two parking spots wide by 20-22 feet deep. Pretty close to 20 x 20. Indicate if you can work with a standard setup or if you need a larger space (to accommodate a trailer, etc.)

Any questions? Contact Dale via email – Dale@pnwba.com, call at 360-984-7571 or respond to this posting. Also, please respond here to confirm you intend to participate and what you will bring for your side dish so maybe we won’t have 12 pans of baked beans. Check back every couple days for updates.
See you soon.

Dale Groetsema


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