We baked in the sun, got soaked by the rain. We rocked and rolled and ate until we could eat no more.

Most of all, we had fun – the North Iowa Up In Smoke BBQ Bash kind of fun.

Now that the Bash is in the books, we want to thank everyone who had a part in it – especially the vendors and competitors and the hundreds of North Iowans who braved the elements to enjoy some of the best barbecue offered up in these parts.

And was it ever good – from the amazing creations in the SPAM Cook-off to the great ribs, chicken, brisket and other barbecue the Bash is known for. No matter the weather, these pit masters come through year after year in the finest Bash tradition.

This year, we crowned a new competitor, Porky Butts BBQ, as grand champion. The Omaha team also claimed the Howard Query Newbie Award, named for the late publisher of the Globe Gazette.

Howard loved to see new teams at the Bash, which he created 13 years ago.

We know he would have loved the fact that the winner of the trophy named for him is also the top-rated team in the world.

That’s just another indicator of how good the Up In Smoke competition is.

So we congratulate all the winners from the weekend and thank all the competitors for choosing our contest. We thank our staff and sponsors: Bud Light, Diamond Jo Casino, Graham Tire, Hy-Vee, Pepsi Beverages Co. and SPAM – with a nod to Visit Mason City and music sponsor McCloskey Appliance. We appreciate the efforts of NIACC staff and students who picked up trash and tidied up the grounds, and the Parks Department for its continued cooperation. And we especially thank everyone who ignored the heat and humidity to fill their need for good food and good music.

“The Up in Smoke BBQ Bash appreciates everyone who braved the heat and the rain to get some great barbecue and listen to a fantastic band, Standing Hampton,” said Ruth Miller, marketing director for the Globe Gazette and the organizer-in-chief of the BBQ Bash.

We’ll see you next year, come heat or high water.

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