Watford City’s Best of the West Ribfest, Street Fair and Car Show is one of the community’s favorite events. Created twelve years ago by the Watford City Chamber of Commerce as a way to encourage travelers to visit Watford City on their way from the Bike Rallies in Sturgis, this event has grown from a couple rib contestants serving a few hundred guests to an annual event that boasts twenty rib team contestants, over fifty craft and food vendors, live music, free kids games and activities, a classic car and truck show and thousands of people filling the streets to sample and vote on their favorite ribs.
According to Committee Chair Jessie Veeder Scofield, there were approximately 3,000 people on Main Street throughout the day on Friday.
“I thought Ribfest went great this year,” said Jessie Veeder Scofield, Ribfest Committee chairperson. “It just seems to get bigger and better year after year, thanks to the enthusiasm of the Ribfest contestants, the generosity of our volunteers and sponsors, and the hard work of our planning committee. We had people filling the street all day.”
The AE2S Team won over the judges’ tastebuds and took First Place in the Ribfest Contest with the Buffalo Gap team taking second place. The Showmanship award was given to Mann Energy, and People’s Choice went to Buffalo Gap, with AE2S in second place for the People’s Choice Award.
There was a total of 18 teams that participated in the contest this year.
“A lot of rib teams sold out of their ribs in a short time because of the long lines at 5 p.m.,” said Scofield. “My guess would be that we had over 3,000 people throughout the day.”
Anyone who was in close proximity to Main Street on Friday could attest to the delicious smell resonating from the thousands of pounds of smoked, barbecued, or baked ribs, burgers, brats, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, and more.
As smoke, laughter, and music filled the air, people filled Main Street shopping at the Street Fair until 5 p.m., when they finally had the chance to start sampling the exquisite variety of ribs.
Kids expelled their bottled-up energy in the Kids Zone inflatables, while local bands including Medora’s Burning Hills Singers, Kristi Goldade, Lonesome Willy, Jessie Veeder with Outlaw Sippin,’ and other great talent got the crowd into their dancing spirit.
It takes more than one or two people to plan and organize an event like this, said Mary Gumke, Watford City Chamber of Commerce coordinator.
“We have a wonderful committee,” says Gumke. “We didn’t have to worry about anything getting done. Everyone was great about doing their part and it successfully came together.”
This is Gumke’s 5th year partnering and working with the Ribfest Committee and she hopes to continue this event on Main Street each year.
“Next year’s Ribfest will be held on Friday, Aug. 12,” says Gumke. “And we always end up with more people than we had the year before. I look forward to next year’s Ribfest.”