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Brawley chamber wins top Rib Cook-Off prize

February 05, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — Winning the $1,000 judges' choice award at the Holtville Athletic Club Rib Cook-Off was the Brawley Chamber of Commerce team of Steve Watte, Cindy Stillman, Ted Riley, Valerie Smith, Victoria Cabrera, Dan Vernon and Erasmo Gonzalez.

The winners donated the $1,000 prize to the Brawley Boys and Girls Club.

Although they weren't about to divulge their secrets, the "dry rub is Hal Brandt's secret rub," and their slow cooking and sauce did the trick, they said.

Placing second in the judges' choice and winning $500 was Holtville Mill and Cabinet/Gary Martin Painting. The third-place finisher was Valley Independent Bank, which won $250. In a three-way tie for fourth place were Helena Chemical Co., Rio-Tel and Farmers Insurance, all receiving $150.

Winner in the best booth award and receiving $200 was Farmers Insurance. Taking second with a $100 prize was J.S. Klicka Insurance of Brawley, followed by Baja Farms/Hoyt Engineering receiving $50 for third place. Chicago Title earned $25 for fourth place.


The best side dish with a $200 prize was awarded to Bobby J's. Ma Lupe's took second place and a $100 prize. Taking third place and winning $50 was The Dune Co. of Imperial Valley. Fourth place and $25 went to Mann Co./Coastal Transport/Dawghouse Music.

Many of the top finishers donated their winnings to the Holtville Athletic Club.

Judging for the best ribs was done by members of the Blue Angels Navy Flight demonstration team. Team members participating were Petty Officer 3 Tashell Wright, Petty Officer 2 Rashay M. Douglas, Chief Petty Officer Chris Dahl, Petty Officer 1 Wes Weaver, Chief Petty Officer Paul Harper and Petty Officer 1 Tony Dicapo. The Blue Angels do their winter training each year at Naval Air Facility El Centro.

Judges for best booth prizes were Phyllis Cason and Jonnie Jean Bolin of El Centro and Monica Shelton of Imperial.

Judges for the best side dishes was a group of snowbird volunteers assisting with this year's cook-off. The side dishes included asparagus, onions, potato wedges, deep-fried cauliflower and various bean dishes including Swiss/Mex beans with bratwurst fixed by the Helena Chemical team.

"We are doing anything we can to help out the Holtville Athletic Club," said winter visitor Harold Williams, a volunteer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

"This is in appreciation for everything the community provides for us, like giving us a place to dump our sewage, get water and have a place to shop. This is the first time for us to do this and it has been a learning experience. We have had a lot of fun and plan to do it again next year," Williams said.

Nearly 9,000 pounds of ribs were consumed by visitors. As in the previous nine years all the rib booths sold out, some as early as 2:30 p.m. Thirty-one teams entered the contest this year. The people's choice award was not given this year.

Every year it becomes a contest to see how many people can fit into the 1-acre site of Holt Park for the annual Rib Cook-Off. This year the crowd was estimated at 10,000.

Many former Holtville residents came back for a visit. Among them were Nate and Kaye Beaman of Uniontown, Kan. Nate was the principal of Holtville High School for 21 years and Kaye had an antique shop in town. Now Nate plays golf and Kaye is still running an antique shop.

Holtville High School graduate George Bolin, now of Norco, visited his second Carrot Festival in nearly 50 years. Since his retirement Bolin was named the Chamber of Commerce manager of Norco, a town of 27,000 residents. The city will celebrate the 54th Norco Valley Fair over Labor Day, Bolin said.

Larry Walker of Pine Grove brought his metal sculptures to the Carrot Festival for the first time. Originally from Holtville, he left in 1966 when he went to serve in Vietnam. He married a girl from Pine Grove a few years later and liked it so well he stayed there. His mother, Pauline Shindlebower, and his sister, Ambra Fusi, both live in Holtville. For the next few months he is leasing a shop on Thiesen Road in Holtville where he will be will be doing all kinds of metal work, practical as well as fine art.

"I love coming back," Walker said. "It will always be my home town."

A couple of new things this year were the addition of two "people movers" to take visitors back to their cars. Ernie Strahm and his sons Cliff and Rodney and grandson Christopher were his crew. A couple of the riders tried to offer tips to the drivers.

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