More than 200 community members attended Saturday's Rib Fest to enjoy more than 400 pounds of ribs and show their support for the Oakhurst Community Center. The annual fundraiser is OCC's sole fundraising event aimed at keeping the center up to date and available for those who wish to use it for future events.
After losing last year's competition to the Oakhurst Sierra Lions Club, Oakhurst Sierra Rotary (noon) brought their A-game this year and prepared ribs, using Dr. Robert Brosi's personal sauce recipe, tasty enough to convince judges that they indeed were deserving of this year's "Best Ribs" title.
The winning team was made up of head chefs Doug Macaulay and Bob Brosi, along with club members George Sitts, and volunteer John Facchino who showed their support throughout the barbecuing process.
"My secret is garlic, garlic and more garlic," Brosi said. "We wrapped the ribs in foil and placed them high on the grill so they imitated baking for a few hours, then we unwrapped the ribs, sauced them up and let them finish up on the grill."
Brosi and Macaulay said they had a great time cooking and enjoying the different ribs available through the four other service groups but were especially excited to get back on top of the winner's board.
"I am honored to have won, but now I am worried my talents are going to called upon next year," Brosi said.
The ribs were judged by local residents Larry Linch, Joe Valdez, Gary Dailey and David Broyles.
The contest was judged using a blind taste test where judges were handed ribs from numbered buckets. Unaware of which organization cooked which rib, judges based their decisions on appearance, tenderness and, of course, taste.
Broyles said judging was a tough because all the ribs were well prepared, but in the end it was clear who the winner was this year.
"If someone outside of America was to ask what American barbecue was, you would simply hand them the winning rib," Broyles said. "That was true American barbecue."
Four other clubs competed in this year's competition including representatives from Sunrise Rotary, Oakhurst Lions, Elk's Lodge and Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis.
According to president of the Oakhurst Community Center board of directors, Dale Miller, the fundraiser helped raise more than $14,000 which will be used to provide maintenance and pay reoccurring upkeep costs at the community center.
In addition to dinner tickets, a live auction, which included a 14K white-gold diamond cocktail ring, a one night stay for two at Tenaya Lodge, half-day on a Miller's landing party barge, Husqvarna leaf blower, a Ecco pole saw for trimming trees, and a Japanese Maple from Western Sierra Nursery, raised $2,800 with an additional $500 coming from a 50/50 raffle.
During the evening's event a drawing, which raised $3,000, was held for a hand-made king size quilt made and donated by the Sierra Mountain Quilters Association.
Winner of the quilt, Pat Ruecker, said she was so excited to have such a well crafted and high quality quilt.
"I think it is wonderful because I am not a quilter, but I appreciate the time and effort that goes into it. Now I am going to have to redecorate my guest room to make it fit the theme," Ruecker said.
Miller thanked the six service clubs who participated in their year's event including Soroptimist who provided the sides for the evening's dinner which were homemade beans, coleslaw and garlic bread.
Miller also wanted to thank the generous contributors who included Mountain Community Women, Sierra Tel, Yosemite Bank, Sunrise Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimist Club and Sullivan's Tire Pros.
"I want to thank the five service clubs for their involvement and support of the Community Center and public for their attendance," Miller said. "As much property and buildings that we have there at the community center it takes quite a bit to keep them in good shape. Without Rib Fest the community center would really struggle."
Helping serve the dinner and bus tables were members of Sierra Pines Youth Ministry and Yosemite High School Girls Basketball team who received donations to their organizations for their contributions.