By Melissa Krause

WILLISTON — Sweet, smokey success. There was much anticipation Thursday morning as eleven pit crews, food vendors, local shops and musical entertainment set up shop for a day of wholesome hometown goodness.

In the heat of the day, the smell of slow smoking ribs swarmed the streets of downtown. Rockin’ Ribfest sponsored by Phillips & Jordan, ensured that anywhere you went, you were hungry.

Few were immune to the bouquet of carnivorous delights and rubbed spices, which brought them further downtown to inspect what was happening.

Phil Hamm, quietly sat on a bench with his chihuahua, Sparky, as they both took in the surroundings of busy energy. “I go downtown to the Heritage Center every day for lunch,” he said. From their usual walk they came to investigate the commotion which for him was like an early birthday present. “I’ll be 78 years old a week from the 4th-my mom told me I came out a week late,” he laughed.

Rockin’ Ribfest brought out a diversity of people, from the long-time residents to the newcomers that recently made Williston their home.

Jacob Smith, 2, had a blast checking out the people and tents with child-like wonder. With markers in hand, he finally found his place on the large children’s coloring wall. 

“We’re new to Williston. We’re loving it so far; this is a lot safer than the city so this is great for us,” said Smith’s mother.

Just as the temperatures hit a peak, an anomalous raincloud appeared, sending everyone scurrying for cover.  Large droplets quickly coated the ground and anyone that wasn’t able to get under a tent in time. Tarps were quickly thrown up and papers were quickly grabbed from blowing away.

Just as soon as it appeared, the rain was over, but the showers did bring down the temperatures back down for people to enjoy Rockin’ Ribfest.

By 4 p.m., the ribs were done and ready for the masses. 

The judges received their ballots, and the tasting began. They were asked to judge the ribs based on 3 criteria: taste, appearance, and tenderness.

With the ballots tallied, the Fan Favorite when to ‘Gold n’ Bones’ which was operated by American State Bank.

Second place for the Best Decorated Booth, was Jacam which went with a tropical theme, which they had right down to the detail of the coconut shaped drink containers. First place went the the very impressive Purity Oilfield Services. 

Then came for the ultimate prize, Best Ribs, scored by judges in a blind taste test. Third place was awarded to, Just Porkin’ Fun. Second place went to Mississippi BBQ. Their slogan is: “Put a Little South in your Mouth.” 

The long awaited first place went to Target Logistics, no strangers to BBQ awards in the past.

The day was full of fun and frolic, and as the BBQ pit crews packed up their equipment, they were sent off with music from the Fargo-based band, 32 Below. Everyone left a little happier, and their wastebands a little tighter.


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