Sunday, June 21, 2009

Elk Grove Rotary Ribfest 2009

I'm behind with my updates. In this post I'd like to talk about the Elk Grove Rotary Club Rib Fest in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. It's nice to be at the competition site only 45 minutes from pulling out of the driveway!

The weather during the week before Rib Fest was wet and we all received an e-mail from Ron Nunes (the organizer) telling us that the park district was worried about the baseball fields that we used for the competition site last year due to the rainy week. They were able to re-arrange the festival that is also held this weekend to put the competition on asphalt. This turned out to be a good decision. When we arrived on site at around 10:00AM it had just started to rain. We found Ron in his car and he told us where to set up. We backed the trailer into position but it was raining too hard to do much else. We ended up sitting in the truck for most of two hours!

When we arrived the parking lot and the ball fields were dry. By the time the rain stopped about half of the parking lot was under water. It was still dry where our trailer was parked but the water at the driver's door of the truck was 8" deep and further downhill the water was almost two feet deep and all of that water was now running across the ball fields towards nearby Salt Creek.

By mid afternoon the parking lot was dry again, but Salt Creek had overflowed its banks and was slowly covering the ball fields. As the day went on it kept rising and some of the lower cook sites were being threatened.

After the cook's meeting everyone was getting ready to fire up the pits and start cooking but word was going around that severe storms were heading our way. I looked at the radar on my iPhone and saw the storms were less than an hour away. We decided to take down our canopy and several other teams did the same. We helped each other to speed up the process. While we were doing this some Elk Grove Police officers came around to tell us that the storms would be arriving in about 15 minutes and they were recommending that we take shelter at the local high school.

Of course none of us were willing to leave our stuff unattended so we all rode out the storm where we were. Amy and I went into our trailer and watched the wind and rain through our windows. The trailer was sheltered a little bit by our truck but it was rocking pretty hard as the gusts rose to close to 70 mph! Besides some small tree branches bouncing off of the trailer roof we fared well. Others weren't as lucky. Our friends at Two Skinny Cooks lost their EZ-Up to the wind and everything they had was wet. We went over to help them secure things but they had it under control. They regrouped and went on to finish the competition and place 5th in ribs!

Once the last batch of storms went by we all cleaned up and went on with the cooking. We did keep an eye on the flood waters from Salt Creek. It kept rising until about 10:00AM on Saturday morning before starting to recede. At it's highest the water was about 5 feet from our truck. Several teams had to relocate due to the high water and others found ways to deal with it.

They also canceled the festival activities so there weren't any spectators walking around so the People's Choice was canceled.

We were pretty happy with our turn-ins. The judges agreed for the most part awarding us 6th place Chicken, 8th place Pork, 5th place Brisket and 4th place Overall. Not exactly what we were hoping for but still not bad.

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