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With a smoky touch, Oakhurst Elks Lodge wins Rib Fest title

From left: Mark, Janet, Patsy, and Chuck Clark joined Carole and Dale Reed to represent the winning team of Oakhurst Elks Lodge during the 18th Annual Rib Fest to benefit Oakhurst Community Center on June 24, 2017.
From left: Mark, Janet, Patsy, and Chuck Clark joined Carole and Dale Reed to represent the winning team of Oakhurst Elks Lodge during the 18th Annual Rib Fest to benefit Oakhurst Community Center on June 24, 2017. Sierra Star

In a culinary championship to be crowned the Mountain Area’s rib masters of 2017, the Oakhurst Elks Lodge won first place at the 18th Annual Rib Fest at Oakhurst Community Center June 25.

It was a first-time win for head chef Mark Clark and his team, with his parents Chuck and Patsy Clark, and Dale and Carole Reed. Clark used three barrels to smoke his team’s 100 pounds of ribs before they were served to an audience of more than 250 people.

“I own over 30 different barbecues so it’s a hobby of mine,” Clark said. “I’ve been grilling for probably over 20 years but haven’t ever entered a contest like this. I was kind of shocked, because I’ve never cooked this many ribs before in my life ... I guess I’ll have to come back next year and defend that title.”

The event raised about $19,500 for the Oakhurst Community Center, the highest amount in its history.

The winning pork ribs were selected by a vote of those attending.

Second place in the contest went to Oakhurst Sierra (Noon) Rotary, last year’s winners.

Bob Hunting, a member of the community center board, said funds raised at the dinner will go towards repairing sewer issues at the center, after tree roots dug into the 55-year-old system’s pipes.

“The Rib Fest always brings in funds to meet our regular budget, which keeps us in good financial condition for the next year,” Hunting said. “Any additional assistance with funding for this major sewer project would be appreciated as well. We want to thank the community for their support of a very successful Rib Fest.”

Five teams participated in the Rib Fest, including the Noon Rotary, Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis Club, the Sierra Lions Club, Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary, and the Elks Lodge (2724).

Twenty one children from the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst helped distribute ribs and sides during the event.

In addition to the dinner, a silent and live auction was held for four tickets to Disneyland, a wooden bear from the Coarsegold Carving Station, a Dyson vacuum, an overnight stay for two at The Redwoods in Yosemite, a one night stay for two and breakfast at Tenaya Lodge, and a custom barbecue made by the Yosemite High School welding class.

Major sponsors of the event were Sierra Tel, Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis, the Soroptimist Club, Oakhurst Sierra (Noon) Rotary, Oakhurst Sunrise Rotary, Central Valley Community Bank, Clairborne & Associates, and Yosemite Bank. Sullivan’s Tire Pros purchased the 500 total pounds of ribs to be used by all five clubs.

This year marked the 52nd anniversary of the Oakhurst Community Center.

Details: (559) 683-2290.

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