couple notches sixth title
this year with win in Madison
Smokey D's BBQ earns title
with first place in ribs
by Don Ward
and Darren Warth
(center) of Iowa's Smokey
D's BBQ collect their Grand
Champion trophy. From left
are Ribberfest staff Drew
Garrett, the Warths, Jeff
Frazier of title sponsor
Gaylor Inc., and Ribberfest
Director Kathy Ayers.
If there is such a thing as a dynasty in barbecue cooking
competitions, then Darren and Sherry Warth would be it this year on
the Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned circuit. The couple from
Des Moines, Iowa, won their unprecedented sixth competition this year
by taking the Grand Champion trophy and $2,500 winner's check at the
2009 Madison Ribberfest.
The Warths needed just one more victory the following week in the season's
last major competition to try and make it a perfect seven, which would
automatically qualify them for the prestigious Jack Daniels World Championship
Invitational Barbecue competition this October in Lynchburg, Tenn.
RIbberfest Kansas City
Results from judging
Aug. 22, 2009,
in Madison, Ind.
(Place, Team, Hometown, Points)
1. Iowa's Smokey D's BBQ, Des Moines, Iowa, 676.0002
2. Hickory Flats BBQ, Versailles, Ind., 660.5716
3. Twyford BBQ & Catering, Jacksonville, Ill., 657.1428
4. Moonswiners, Fern Creek, Ky., 656.5712
5. Quau, Brimfield, Ill., 652.5714
6. Steel Smokin' BBQ, Butler, Ind., 644.0000
7. The Flying Burritos, Jasper, Ind., 641.7138
8. Smoky River BBQ, Spiceland, Ind., 640.5716
9. Fowl Butt BBQ, Decatur, Ind., 640.5710
10. Getta Que, Fairborn, Ohio 639.9996
16. The Ribberbest Gang, Madison, Ind. 627.4288
25. Indiana Bones, North Vernon, Ind., 619.4280
28. Wildcat BBQ, Madison, Ind., 614.2846
35. Seymour Smokin' Butts, Seymour, Ind., 602.8570
41. Pig Pak, Madison, Ind., 595.4276
45. ACME BBQ, Madison, Ind., 586.8568
53. R Gang, Madison, Ind., 575.4278
59. Butts N Racks, Hanover, Ind., 545.7142
Even without a seventh victory, the couple are likely
candidates considering they will be entered in several drawings to earn
an berth in the Tennessee event. The Madison Ribberfest victory automatically
qualified them for the year-end KCBS American Royal, held Oct. 1-4 in
Kansas City, Mo.
"We are definitely on a roll; it's amazing," Warth, 41, said
Aug. 22, immediately after collecting his large wooden cutting board
trophy in Madison. "We did a lot better here than we did last year
that's for sure."
The Warths made their third consecutive appearance in Madison and had
never won anything. they made up for that in grand fashion, then received
dozens of congratulatory handshakes from their friends and fellow competitors
as they slowly made their way back to their truck and RV.
The outscored their opponents by capturing first place in pork ribs,
fifth in pork, fourth in brisket and 12th in chicken. After those four
required competition categories, the team also collected additional
points by placing 31st in sauce.
Versailles, Ind.-based Hickory Flats BBQ, led by Paul Everman, won second
place as the Reserve Grand Champion. Last year's Madison Ribberfest
defending champ Twyford's BBQ & Catering of Jacksonville, Ill.,
took third place. Moonswiners, led by Chad and Christine Hayden of Fern
Creek, Ky., who won here in 2007, placed fourth.
by Don Ward
Warth win sixth
The Warths' six victories leads the country. Only two
other teams have won four each this year. "That puts a target on
our backs, for sure," Warth said, laughing.
The couple owns two barbecue restaurants in Des Moines called Smokey
D's BBQ and are preparing to open a third. They do not open the restaurant
on the weekends so they can travel to barbecue competitions.
Both have full-time jobs during the week. Darren is vice president of
a logistics transportation management company, and Sherry is an office
manager at a plumbing company.
On the weekends, however, Darren does the cooking at competitions and
Sherry's role is to assist in presentation, tasting and selecting the
pieces to be judged.
"It started out as a hobby, then we started catering, then we opened
the restaurants," Darren said.
by Don Ward
Flats BBQ win
second place at the 2009
"Darren doesn't like to eat barbecue when he is competing,"
Sherry said. "So that's my job to taste it." He says competition
barbecue is "designed to get the 'wow' factor.
"This is my cocaine; it's my addition," Warth said of barbecue
They travel from March to November taking part in such events. Madison
Ribberfest, the largest of six KCBS events in Indiana this year, boasted
61 teams and could have accepted more. But organizers opted to cap the
entries because of lack of space to put them all.
Already, the teams line up along Vaughn Drive in front of Crystal Beach
swimming pool, a block up Broadway and Vine streets on either side.
This year's event was the second-largest after hosting 63 teams in 2007.
Last year's event boasted 59 teams.
Back to 2009 Ribberfest