By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Downtown Enid is the place to be this weekend, as the eighth annual Roberts Ranch Smokin’ Red Dirt BBQ begins Thursday at Convention Hall.
This year’s barbecue will feature annual favorites, such as the People’s Choice contest and Enid Noon AMBUCS lunch, return events such as the March of Dimes Little Miss Red Dirt Pageant, and entirely new events such as the Pelagic Tank Kids Q cook-off.
Check out the rules and the schedule @ the Official Smokin' RedDirt BBQ website.
Events kick off at noon Thursday in the second floor Junior Ballroom in Convention Hall with the opening of the Student Arts Show. The event runs the next two days, opening at noon Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
A “Make ‘n’ Take” crafts fair is set for 4:30-8 p.m. Thursday and is free for kids grades kindergarten through fifth grade. The event is sponsored by Security National Bank and Standard Builder-Bath Planet.
“It features some of the art teachers from Enid schools and it really is some creative art,” said Eagle Marketing Director Frank Baker.
Also at 4:30 p.m. Thursday is the return of the March of Dimes Little Miss Red Dirt Pageant in the Grand Ballroom of Convention Hall.
Eagle Marketing’s Marketing Coordinator Lynn Benkendorf said 50 contestants have signed up for the pageant.
At 4 p.m. Friday at Oklahoma and Independence, the new Pelagic Tank Kids Q cook-off begins.
“People can come out and watch the kids compete on 14-inch Weber grills,” Benkendorf said. “They’ll be cooking ground beef and chicken.”
At 5 p.m. Friday, Roberts Ranch will have its free barbecue sandwiches, while supplies last, at the corner of Cherokee and Independence.
“They give away over 1,000 sandwiches in an hour,” Benkendorf said. “You’ll want to get in line early.”
Maria Rae’s and Cookshack’s People’s Choice Contest will be 6-7 p.m. Friday, with 16 contestants this year.
“There is barbecue from a lot of our contestants and some locals as well,” Baker said.
For $7 a plate, people can sample championship ribs and sides and then vote on their favorites. Tickets are available at the Enid News & Eagle, 227 W. Broadway. Tickets also will be available at Independence and Cherokee, where those already with tickets can pick up their plates.
Baker and Benkendorf encouraged those who want to participate to be sure and purchase their tickets in advance, as a limited number of tickets will be sold.
A Big Band Era music performance featuring Doc Bryant and a 16-piece orchestra is set for 7-10 p.m. Friday at Convention Hall, with special guest Kyle Dillingham. The event was coordinated by Etown Magazine Promotions Director Cathy Nulph.
More music is on the schedule 8-11 p.m. with Etown’s Music on the Square, with live music at surrounding downtown businesses.
Saturday’s events begin at 10 a.m. with Garfield County Domestic Violence Task Force “Day Without Violence” activities and games for children at Independence and Cherokee.
Even more music is set for 10:30 a.m., with live music from the group Blazin’ in the Grand Ballroom of Convention Hall. The Enid Noon AMBUCS BBQ dinner follows at 11 a.m.
Project Coordinator Brad Nulph said the lunch lasts until 1:30 p.m. and features a pulled-pork sandwich, beans, slaw, a pickle, roll, cake and iced tea or water.
Advance tickets for adults are $7 and $3 for kids. Tickets are available at the News & Eagle or from any AMBUCS member. Tickets at the door are $8 for adults and $4 for kids.
“That’s a deal you can’t beat,” Nulph said. “It’s raising money to finish the Miracle League Field at ABC Park.”
Each adult ticket also is worth a chance for a drawing for a total of $1,000. One winner will take home $500, another $300 and two others will take home $100 each. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom and need not be present to win.
Live performances will be given by magician Chris Capstone and the band CatFink during the dinner.
Winners of the Kansas City Barbeque Society contest, People’s Choice and Kids Q contests will be announced at 3:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of Convention Hall. A total of $13,000 in prize money will be awarded to the winners, among the 66 teams competing in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and an optional dessert category.
“Three of our contestants here will have, or have, been featured on ‘BBQ Pitmasters,’ which you can watch on Destination America,” Benkendorf said.
Road closures for the events will begin 7 p.m. Friday. Due to construction downtown, fireworks for this year have been canceled.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the enormous assistance of the city of Enid and various departments, employees and the management staff of the Enid Events Center and Convention Hall,” Baker said. “They played a very big role in making this event possible.”