Rib & Chicken Cook-Off begins Friday

WHEELING – Wheeling resident Doug Hennen is looking forward to another weekend of judging the best barbecued chicken and ribs during the Ohio Valley Rib & Chicken Cook-Off.

The annual event is slated to begin at noon Friday and Saturday at Wheeling Heritage Port. In addition to the barbecue and beer vendors, there will be free musical and dance entertainment, inflatables by All Year Sports Galaxy and craft vendors.

Hennen will serve as this year’s chief judge.

”I’m looking forward to the outcome and getting a new champion,” Hennen said. ”It’s one of the funnest things I’ve done. It has good food, cold beer and good company.”

Cook-off organizer Bill Brooks said awards are given for best ribs, best chicken and the grand champion, who receives the largest trophy named after Carl Carenbauer, owner of Carenbauer Distributing.

”It’s a great honor to have the trophy named after my dad,” said Erin Carenbauer.

The grand champion is the cook who receives the highest combined points from the rib and chicken entries. The people’s choice award is tallied from ballots submitted by those who attend the festival. The first-place rib award is sponsored by WesBanco, and the people’s choice is presented by McCann Distributors.

Each day food and craft vendors start selling at noon, while the live entertainment and children’s activities start at 3 p.m. and run through 11 p.m.

Brooks noted the festival previously was named Bikes, Brews & Barbecue Rib Cook-Off.

”We wanted to make the festival name more family friendly. We encourage people to bring their families. For those who wish to sample more than one vendor’s ribs, you will be able to purchase the taste, which is one bone of rib,” Brooks said.

Friday’s entertainment lineup includes the Overtones, Ohio Valley Promenaders, Take a Bow Dance Centre, Silver Eagle Band and Everyday America, which is a Sugarland tribute band.

Saturday’s entertainment includes Country Variety Band, Adrian Niles, Trippin the Riff, and Jill West and the Blues Attack.