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Returning Ribfest champ keeps his title



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Returning Ribfest champion and owner of T-Roy’s prepares another batch of ribs since they were going fast at the Gunstock venue on Saturday during the smoking hot festival. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
July 28, 2010
The Gilford Rotary's Rock'n Ribfest, held at Gunstock for its sixth year, focused not only on saucy and sticky smoked ribs and rock music last Saturday, but provided some extra entertainment for the younger set as well.

The returning champion of Ribfest 2009, T-Roy's of Amherst, won first place again this year, while Cactus Jack's of Laconia and Manchester took second place, and the Smoke Shack of Weirs Beach and Boscawen took third place. Wiggie's Sticky Ribs of Rochester also returned to the event.

The Ribfest is one of the Rotary's largest fundraisers and helps raise money to continue to support charities on a yearly basis. The Rotary raised about $10,000 at the 2009 Ribfest, said Rotary member Alice Bouchard.

"We want to raise at least $10,000 if we can this year. We want to continue supporting people," said Bouchard. "It's a family oriented, fun day. We added a few things on the kid's list this year for families."

She said hundreds to thousands of people show up at the Ribfest on a yearly basis, although it often depends on the weather, which was mainly sunny and hot last weekend.

This year kids were treated to a marionette puppet show, face painting, a viewing of model sailboats on the Gunstock pond, as well as a petting zoo, animal balloons by Buster, caricatures by Larry Frates, and rides on the ski lift with friends and family members.

Kids also sat under tents in the heat to avoid the sun and to decorate cookies, while others ventured out into the open to rock climb, jump on a giant moon walk, or try a hand at sinking a volunteer in the dunking booth.

The Kid Pinky Band and Slippery Sneakers alternated performances throughout the festival, and airbrush tattoo artists, pottery and jewelry vendors were also on site.

Most people made sure to vote for their favorite tasting ribs in the People's Choice category, although they could also vote on their favorite car at the classic car show simultaneously held at Gunstock this year.

Bouchard said the Ribfest had to compete with small Old Home Day's and other events such as the antique boat show in Meredith last Saturday, but she still expected a good turnout. Surveys were also handed out at this year's event for feedback from participants.

Based on surveys so far, Bouchard said most people at Ribfest this year appeared to be local, although the event and the Gunstock venue brings in people from all over New England.

The winner of this year's Ribfest, Troy Hamel - also known as T-Roy - said he came back to defend his champion title this year. He has also won the Budweiser State Championship for the past three out of four years.

Hamel said smoking ribs was once a hobby that turned into a family tradition.

"I enjoy doing it. The Rotary donates all the money to charity. It's a great event – there's something for everyone," said Hamel.

He said he always purchases his ribs fresh, not frozen, marinates them for six to eight hours and smokes them over hickory wood.

Proceeds from this year's Ribfest will go to an array of charities including Saint Vince DePaul's Neighbors in Need, the High School Interact Program and various scholarships, the Gilford Youth Center, The Boys and Girls Club, Drug and Alcohol programs, and the Senior Citizen Christmas Dinner, among others.

PeterCavanagh
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