MASON CITY | Teams and fans at the 2015 Up in Smoke BBQ Bash refused to let nasty storms get in the way of good barbecue.
Two rounds of storms dumped 4.13 inches of rain in Mason City early Friday, causing the Winnebago River and Willow Creek to rise so rapidly that some teams were forced to evacuate low-lying areas of East Park.
But by noon the skies were blue, the ground was dry and the park was quickly filling up.
Sponsored by the Globe Gazette, the Bash runs Friday and Saturday in the park. Fifty-five teams from North Iowa and across the country signed up to compete in the Bash's Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition on Saturday.
Rich Davis, of The Q Crew, found his rig safe on high ground but without power Friday morning. As soon as that was fixed he got to work seasoning 56 racks of ribs to sell at his vending stand.
Several teams sell barbecue and other foods at vending stands during the two-day event. There is also a beer garden and free live music during the Bash.
Fans of the Bash like to eat. The Q Crew, of Waldorf, Minnesota, sells more food at the Bash than anywhere else it goes, Davis said.
The team typically goes through 300 pounds of brisket during the two-day event.
"For some reason they like the brisket," he said.
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Elizabeth Yusko of Cedar Falls made sure to get a brisket sandwich when she and friend Katelind Lenz of Osage stopped by the Bash Friday afternoon.
"I get my brisket fix up here," Yusko said.
The self-described food lovers said they have been coming to the event for the past few years. It's become tradition to meet up for a day of good food in East Park, they said.
"We're food fanatics, I guess," Lenz said with a laugh. "We'll try anything."
The key to a successful Bash is trying different foods, being adventurous.
"Don't be afraid of the sauces," Lenz said. "Even if you get an extra container and just dip it."
Davis, of The Q Crew, knew the weather wouldn't scare barbecue fans away.
"We always get big crowds down here," said Davis, loading ribs into the smoker. "We've vended through rain and through heat and it doesn't seem to keep them away."