First-ever Backyard Rib Fest will spice up Saturday

Spencer Grundhofer thought Good Neighbor Days needed something new this year.

On Saturday, June 8, 12 teams will compete for cash prizes and the coveted title, “Hugo Ribmeisters,” in the first-ever Hugo Good Neighbor Days Backyard Rib Fest.

Spencer Grundhofer, owner of Grundhofer’s Old Fashion Meats, came up with the idea for the barbecue contest while talking to his friend, Hugo Lion Dan Balthazor.

Grundhofer said he thought the community festival needed something different to offer the community. “I remember when I was a kid back in the ’70s, there was a bunch of different stuff. For a lot of years, (the Lions) had a black Angus steer. You could guess the weight, and if you were closest you won the steer,” he explained. “Lately, it has been concentrated on the beer garden and games.”

Grundhofer agreed to provide the ribs to each of the teams this year. “I figured I came up with the idea, so I might as well donate the ribs. For the first year, I will put my money where my mouth is,” he said.

Doors will open for teams to start preparing the ribs at 6:30 a.m. June 8 in Lion’s Park. Starting at noon, tickets for the public rib tasting will go on sale for $1/bone (cash only). There is a limit of 10 tickets per person. Tasting will begin at 4 p.m. Participants will be able to cast a vote for their favorite ribs. During the event, there will be a free performance by Broken Heartland String Band.

The contest winners will be announced at 5 p.m. In addition to the popular vote submitted by festival-goers, three judges will choose the top three contestant teams. This year’s judges include Mayor Tom Weidt, Washington County Sheriff Sgt. Joe Stoehr and Scott Kersten of Kersten’s Auto Sales. A trophy for the overall winner will be presented and cash prizes will be awarded.

“During the day, this will get more people up there, and maybe more families,” Grundhofer said. “People can try out some ribs. I think it will be a good deal.”

Hugo Good Neighbor Days is held at Lions Park, behind Hugo City Hall. The community festival runs from Thursday, June 6, through Sunday, June 9, and features live music, carnival rides, a parade, bingo, beer garden, pancake breakfast, craft vendor fair, special historical exhibit, Lions kitchen, karaoke, a wine tasting, fireworks, and more. 

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