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The heat is on! First-ever cook-off in Perham will pit teams against each other to see who can make the tastiest ribs

Ribs, some chicken, corn on the cob, chips, root beer floats and other beverages will be served, with everything selling for $1 apiece. File image

This Saturday in downtown Perham, 16 teams will gather over their grills to face off in the town’s first-ever rib cook-off.

The competition is expected to draw a large crowd of people who are hungry for some good food and a good time. Part of a city block is being temporarily closed down to make room for the event.

Cooking teams will start setting up bright and early at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, rain or shine, in preparation for a 4 p.m. judging process. Awards for the best ribs will then be presented to the teams.

Right after that, at about 5 p.m., the event will open up to the public, and food will be sold for as long as supplies last – anywhere from 40 minutes to a couple of hours, most likely.

Ribs, some chicken, corn on the cob, chips, root beer floats and other beverages will be served, with everything selling for $1 apiece.

The event will be happening in the area of 2nd Ave. S.E., near Pizza Ranch and Winkel’s Carpet.

All proceeds will go to Perham Yellowjacket Activities.

“It’s a new event for town and it’s a good way for people to show community support,” said Mark Schmidt, chairman of the cook-off. “It’s a fundraiser for the school, for the kids, for Yellowjacket Activities. What more could you ask for?”

Schmidt has been heading up a committee of about six to nine guys who have been meeting almost every week for the last few months to plan and organize the cook-off.

“There’d been talk of this happening in town for the past few years,” he said.

The idea never really got off the ground until recently, though, when Schmidt got the group together and they decided now was the time to make it happen.

As a result of their hard work and a number of sponsorships and contributions from local businesses and organizations, 16 teams have signed up for the competition, including some businesses and some individuals, from both within and outside of Perham.

“It’s been a good deal,” Schmidt said. “There’s been a lot of positive response to it from the community and business owners. They’re pretty excited for a new event. We’re hoping that we have a great turnout, and it’s a great fundraiser for Yellowjacket Activities.”

Coaches and kids from Perham schools will be volunteering at the event, helping with whatever needs to be done.

Officially named the Perham Lions Rib Cook-Off, the event has gotten major support from the Perham Lions club, as well as The Locker Plant, The Lakes Area Co-op, Service Food, Dean’s Country Market, KLN and Arvig.

Core committee members include Les Kundo, Steve Sweere, Dave Still, Gary Senske, John Johnson, Ron Pulver and Dan Schroeder.

Schroeder, who is the executive director of the Perham Chamber, said he expects the event to be successful at both bringing people into town and raising money for a good cause.

“It could be a very good and growing event for the Perham area,” he said. “This is the first go-around for the cook-off, so we will see the success at days’ end.”

Schmidt said the intention is to make the cook-off an annual event, with more and more teams competing in the future.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa. 

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