Rib cook-off draws large crowds in Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

It's a sight not seen often enough in downtown Fresno - a crowd gathered for an event. Visitors all brought their appetites but local meat markets and hotels are also benefitting from this 3-day event.

John Ruloff of Clovis entry QN4U said, "Man this is the greatest thing that's ever happened to Fresno."

Once the smoke clears only the best can boast. Championship banners and trophies tell you this is no ordinary barbeque.

Rudy Bustos of Fresno was just getting started. "This was a rib bone about five pounds. How was it? You can tell. It's gone, it was great."

The rib cook-off gives the local economy a nice end of the summer boost. Fresno City Parks and Recreation Director Randy Cooper explained, "We've hired about 65 people and they're buying all their meat from local vendors. They're buying the beer from local vendors. You see other type of vendors selling other types of food so we feel we're making some type of financial impact."

A boxing ring will be used for lucha extreme wrestling on Sunday.

Six bar-b-que cooks are competing , including international champ "Aussom Aussie." Paul McKay said, "We made a big effort to come all the way from Sydney, Australia. You can't come all the way from Australia and have product that sucks."

Porky-N-Beans will be tough to beat. The Florida crew has won 12 of its last 14 shows. Wayne Winner wouldn't give up any secrets. When asked, "What makes your ribs better than everyone else's?" Winner replied, "Well if I told you that you'd start your own business down there."

Local entry QN4U is ready to battle the big boys. John Ruloff said, "These guys don't normally let locals compete with them. It's kind of a vending festival but QN4U threw down the gauntlet and said, look you're coming to my town."

Friday's free movie in the park is "G.I. Joe." so you can watch while you digest your food. A kids carnival and car show is also featured this weekend. Rosa Robles of Fresno said, "I think it's really good for downtown and also just for the economy."

Downtown parking is free this weekend. You don't have to feed the meters so feed your family.

Randy Cooper says he's tired of hearing people say there's never anything to do downtown. The cook-off goes through Sunday.

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