In a culinary battle to be crowned the 2016 Mountain Area rib masters, the Oakhurst Sierra (Noon) Rotary barbecue team won first place at the 17th Annual Rib Fest at Oakhurst Community Center June 25.
The event raised $17,500.
For the second year, the winning pork ribs were selected by a vote of those attending, as opposed to a small judging panel that selected the winners for the first 15 years of the event.
Led by Bob Brosi, Doug Macaulay, and George Sitts, the Noon Rotary’s ribs got the most votes from a crowd of nearly 250, followed by last year’s winners, the Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis Club.
This was the seventh time the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club has won the title, at one time winning three years in a row (2009 - 2011).
Dottie Lee, president of the Oakhurst Community Center board, said the Rib Fest, as the building’s only major fundraiser each year, was a big success.
“We were sold out a week ahead of time,” Lee said. “It’s been talked about that we’ll expand in the future, so that’s always possible.”
Five teams participated in the Rib Fest, including the Noon Rotary, Kiwanis Club, the Sierra and Bass Lake Lions Clubs, Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary, and the Oakhurst California Elks Lodge (2724).
Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler served as master of ceremonies, and said without the Rib Fest, the community center probably wouldn’t exist.
“This is what supports the whole facility,” Wheeler said. “They’ve done a hell of a job with this each year.”
Sixteen volunteers from the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst helped distribute ribs during the event, along with two members of the Yosemite High School Key Club.
In addition to dinner tickets, a live auction, which included four tickets to Disneyland, a wooden bear from the Coarsegold Carving Station, a maple tree from Western Sierra Nursery, an overnight stay at Tenaya Lodge, and an overnight stay at the Redwoods in Yosemite helped raise additional funds.
This year marked the 51st anniversary of the Oakhurst Community Center.