SPARKS - Bone Daddy's BBQ of Midland, Mich., claimed two lip-smackin' titles, winning first place and the People's Choice award at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off in Sparks.
Owner Bill Wall took both top honors Monday, the last day of the annual Labor Day weekend event at John Ascuaga's Nugget that drew 24 competitive rib cookers.
"Wow!" Wall said, straining to hoist the huge first-place trophy.
"I've gone to rib cook-offs all over the country, and this is the best of them all," he said. "I love these people, and I have a great crew."
Bone Daddy's is now a three-time winner of the first-place title for "best ribs" and winner for a second year in a row of the People's Choice award.
"There is no better trophy than the People's Choice," Wall said. "That means out of a half million people, the majority liked your ribs best."
Wall credits the black wild cherry and sugar maple hardwood he uses to slow cook and flavor Bone Daddy's ribs. Most other competitors used white oak and mesquite.
"People are particular about their barbecue, and when they find the right taste and characteristics they like, they'll stay with you," Wall said. "So far, it seems to be working for us."
This year was Wall's 20th competing at the Best in the West cook-off. He married his chief crew member, Kimberly, during the event 19 years ago. Wall said they will reinvest the $7,500 top prize so they can stay tough in future competitions.
Tom Ferguson, owner of Chicago Barbecue Co., donated the $500 he and his crew won as the fifth-place "best ribs" winners to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
Organizers said this year's 22nd annual cook-off brought record crowds during its six-day run.
"We don't exactly have a head count but all the indicators point to a record turnout, and Saturday was probably our best day for rib sales," said Stephen Ascuaga, chief operating officer of John Ascuaga's Nugget.
"My guess is that this year, we topped over a half-million people, but that includes repeat visitors who came for more than one day to the event," Ascuaga said
2010 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off - OFFICIAL RESULTS
1st Bone Daddy's BBQ
2nd Kinder's Custom Meats Inc.
3rd Rasta Joe's BBQ Inc.
4th BJ's Barbecue
5th Chicago BBQ Company
Best Sauce Johnson's Bar-B-Que
People's Choice Bone Daddy's BBQ