The People's Choice Award gives the public a chance to challenge the tasting talents of the professionals at Clayton's third annual Rib Cook-off on Aug. 11. While contestants vie for prizes and cash awards, it will be four winners of a $1 ticket from the morning raffle who choose the winner of the biggest and most coveted trophy.
The 2012 Cook-off could top list for best small, hometown events, according to Realtor Rob Robertson. Each year Clayton Business and Community Association organizers have found ways to boost the fun and motivation for local barbecue contestants and their fans.
"We have had a wonderful response from the public. Each year, we always try to make it better," Clayton Club Saloon owner Steve Barton said. "We want to make it good for the contestants and good for the public."
Up to 28 contestants will have the chance to fire up their grills at 7 a.m. on the Clayton Club property on Main Street, where the parking lot is commandeered for outdoor cuisine.
One of four live bands begins to play for entertainment and inspiration at 11 a.m. and music continues throughout the day. The CBCA's barbecue caterer is preparing ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs for sale.
Food and soft drink sales at the CBCA booth, and soft drinks at the Clayton Club benefit the CBCA, which sponsors other Clayton events such as the Oktoberfest and Art & Wine Festival.
Last year's first-place winner -- Keith Baker of Full Boar BBQ -- will
Robertson's daughter and Clayton Valley High School graduate, Devon Robertson, is competing for the third time. This year she is with the Meodowland Rib Busters from San Jose.
Sam and Sean Ray, of Ray Bros. BBQ, took second place last year, and are in the hunt for first in 2012. While in Clayton three years ago to visit their parents, the brothers discovered the cook-off, entered and finished second.
"We grew up around the grill. Mom and dad taught us to cook here in Clayton," Sam said. "Now my brother and I talk on the phone a couple of times a week about rubs and equipment. We are using a barrel smoker this year."
The annual cook-off trips from their homes in Los Angeles and San Diego, respectively, have become a family tradition. "It is just great to be involved with family and get back together with people," Sam said.
Official scrutiny by 12 judges comprised of barbecue professionals, certified Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) judges and local barbecue gourmets occurs from 12:45 to 2:30 p.m., with awards announced at 3 p.m.
Among the judges are Clayton Mayor Howard Geller; CBCA president and former Mayor Greg Manning; Yvonne Erb, KCBS certified judge and co-owner of Back Forty Texas BBQ; Nicole Hackett, Clayton Valley Garden Club president; Bob Steiner, co-owner of the Clayton Pioneer; CBCA volunteers Jim Lawrence, Kevin Schmidt, Keith Haydon and others.
Expert judges from among the event sponsors are Christina Jacopetti of Armadillo Willy's; Damon Owens, Dickey's BBQ owner; Jeff Erb, Back Forty Texas BBQ co-owner; and Dave Huitt of Smokey D's in Martinez.
Event sponsors include Weichert, Realtors-America First Team, Armadillo Willy's, and Back Forty Texas BBQ.
Contact Dana Guzzetti at email@example.com or call 925-202-9292.
WHAT: Third annual Clayton Rib Cook-off
WHEN: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11; grills fired up at 7 a.m.; raffle ticket sales from 9:30-11:45 a.m. to become one of four People's Choice judges; official judging 12:45-2:30 p.m.; awards at 3 p.m.
WHERE: Clayton Club Saloon, 6096 Main St., Clayton
MUSIC: 10 a.m. Crossman Country; noon The Relyks; 2 p.m. Shorty Bacon Revue; and 4 p.m. Desert Moon
INFORMATION: http://www.claytoncbca.org/Event/RibCookOff or 925-672-2272