NAF EL CENTRO, Calif. â€“ Members of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, judged the 23rd annual Holtville Athletic Club Rib Cook-off Extravaganza, in Holtville, Calif., Saturday, marking the 21st year the Blue Angels have judged the contest.
The Holtville Athletic Club hosts the annual rib cook-off as a fund raiser to support the clubâ€™s sports and educational youth programs.
Among the friendly Imperial Valley community, the Blue Angels tasted and judged samples of the nearly 12,000 pounds of ribs from each of the more than 20 competitors prepared during the one-day festival.
And when the mesquite-filled smoke had cleared, the Blue Angel judges made their call, and selected the over-all winners of the event â€“ the youth and community of Holtville.
Holtville Rib Cook-off Volunteer/Judge Coordinator, Kurt Hoffman, said having the Blue Angels involved in the rib cook-off is not simply about promoting the event, but allows the community to share their sense of commitment to the team.
â€œThe Imperial Valley community feels a sense of ownership and pride in the Blue Angels because the team calls this area home for a few months each year and the community has adopted them as family in a way,â€ said Hoffman.
â€œSo the rib cook-off is a special opportunity for this community to mingle with the Blue Angels who they have a strong sense of pride in and have come to love.â€
The Blue Angel judges echoed Hoffmanâ€™s sentiment and reflected on what the event meant to them.