On Day 2 of the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre’s 65th Anniversary Celebration, the highlight of this sunny Sunday was the Annual Rib Cook-off: thirteen corporate teams got together at the Centre, South of the Town of Devon, to prepare the ribs that would be the talk of the town… Amateurs and professionals could compete in this contest.
Among all the activity, the hundreds of visitors roaming the site, the heavy equipment moving soil in the back forty and the large tent hosting several Industry exhibits, there was a lovely scent of pork ribs floating in the hot summer air… Guests approached the various ‘cooking’ tents, being asked to be patient, as 12 o’clock wasn’t there yet, the designated time for the tasting and judging of the ribs…
Each rib-cooking team started out with 100 pounds of ribs, supplied by each competitor. Guests purchased their rib tickets, the proceeds of that afternoon event adding to the overall weekend revenue, a major fundraiser for Leduc #1. First order of the day is to name for you all the groups involved in the Annual Rib Cook-Off.
STREAM-FLO was the recipient of the People’s Choice Award: guests received a ballot when they purchased a plate of ribs: this team was fun and congenial and their ribs looked great!
SMOKEHOUSE BBQ was the proud recipient of the Judges’ Choice Award. Terry Sept, owner of this new eatery in Leduc Common (on Hy 39) was assisted by his cute step-daughter Alyssa and her boyfriend, a strapping young fellow ideal for hauling big rib packs. Terry was thrilled to receive this award, as his rib recipe is still fairly new.
The Leduc-Wetaskiwin PIPESTONE FLYER Team, the “Sow Belly Soppers” was awarded the Best-Themed Award, richly deserved, as the entire cooking team was dressed like hillbillies – and they were quite a sight! They were also quite excited about this award, but let it be noted that their ribs were peach-flavored, a little spicy, and quite unique –and delicious!! (of course, I am not biased here..).
SCHLUMBERGER’s team was congenial, and they were cooking from two large stainless steel BBQs. The McQUEEN TEAM was hopping, as Minister Diana McQueen was busy dishing out ribs while chatting with countless constituents and taking photos, a hobby she’s quite good at! Her husband Jim and two other friendly helpers worked hard by her side.
TOWN OF DEVON’s team was led by Mayor Anita Fisher, Councillor Sheila Aitken, Town manager Tony Kublisky and one other: this was a popular team adding to the day’s fun and excitement. DEVON IGA manager and co-owner Jeff Miller had a dynamic team with him, including his IGA meat manager Cory. Jeff has been known to cook skillfully at large community events, and it is rumored that he used his wife’s secret rib recipe that day: well done, you two!
The DEVON LIONS CLUB had some charming and fun gentlemen cooking some delicious ribs, and their festive tent was quite popular with the rib-loving crowd. Next to them, the GMU TEAM was having a lot of fun serving their neighbors, as this Devon family was Terry Turner (Grandpa’s cooking!- retiring this year) with his son Derek, daughter-in-law Michelle, and a cheerful grand-son, Greg. DISCOVERY PLACE, the impressive senior’s residence in Devon, also had a congenial team, with Brian Stecyk on board, the marketing guru who helped the Centre with its re-branding a few years ago.
The Judges panel was led by former TV personality, Celebrity Chef John Berry: enthusiastically assisted by his ‘occasional’ cooks Marilyn Bianchini and Dawn Fraser, Jacquie Rae, CFCW program director, Michael Brandigan a long-time Rotarian friend and Wendy Payne-Stecyk, a Culinary Arts teacher. They ate, tasted, wisely offered their opinion, and Chef John tallied the results. Several hundred guests purchased ribs, but only 352 voting ballots were entered. The judges did a great job, and the Society is grateful for their tireless efforts.
The Devon Oilfield Historical Society (DOHS) that oversees the Leduc #1’s operations is deeply grateful for each team’s participation and support, as more than $8,000 was raised for the Centre through the Annual Rib Cook-Off alone. Of course, this couldn’t have been such a “finger-licking” success without the awesome support of thousands of visitors, many of them rib-tasting experts. Next year, the Society looks forward to a summer day of celebration, designed around a bigger and better Rib Cook-Off!