Firefighters sought for rib eating contest

| 07 Mar 2012 | 01:29

    VERNON — Volunteer firefighters from across the region are wanted to participate in a Rib Eating Contest on May 12 to help kick off the upcoming Rock, Ribs and Ridges music and food festival. Festival organizers are seeking 12 fire departments to enter one firefighter each for the contest to see who can eat a full rack of ribs the fastest. The winner’s firehouse will receive $500 courtesy of Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, the festival’s presenting sponsor. And the individual winner will receive a pair of general admission tickets to the Rock, Ribs and Ridges festival at The Hidden Valley Club in Vernon on June 9 and 10. Each participating firehouse will receive $100 and the individual contestants will each receive one free general admission ticket to the festival. The contest is free and will take place on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m. at the Franklin Sussex Auto Mall located at 315 Route 23 North in Sussex. The dealership will also be giving away a flat screen television to one person in the audience as firefighters’ friends, families and the general public are invited to this event, which will also feature a Southern rock band, free barbecue, games and prizes. The ribs Eric Figueroa of the Double S Diner in Sussex will once again supply the ribs for the contest. He won the juried rib cook-off for “Best Ribs” and “Best Sauce” at last year’s Rock, Ribs and Ridges festival. Figueroa is rebuilding the popular eatery following a devastating fire that closed the restaurant last spring and he plans to defend his titles at this year’s festival in June. Last year's winner Hunter Space of the Beemerville Fire Company in Wantage won last year’s inaugural contest, downing a full rack of ribs in four minutes, 50 seconds. The volunteer firehouse used the $500 prize to purchase new gear for the department. This year’s festival features concerts from Grammy Award winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artists Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers and Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd plus Molly Hatchet, New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Georgia Satellites, CB Radio and Cabinet. Barbecue will be available throughout the weekend, the juried rib cook-off will take place, in which cooks compete for thousands of dollars in prize money and the titles of Best Ribs and Best Sauce. To enter the rib eating contest, volunteer fire companies should contact Brett Matak at 973-882-5464 ext. 12 or via e-mail to For additional information about the festival, visit