IMPERIAL — Crowds filled the downtown streets of Imperial Saturday night during the 6th annual Tri-tip Cookoff as they sampled tasty barbecued meat and voted for the city’s 2017 tri-tip champion. This year, 5th Gear BBQ took home the $1,500 championship prize.
In past years, the event was held at Eager Park, but the venue was changed because the size of the turnout had outgrown the park.
“This is our first year having the event downtown,” said Ember Haller, community services director. “We had 18 contestants compete this year, and the turnout tonight was well worth the move.”
“The Tri-tip Cook-off is part of the city’s Imperial Market Days event series,” said Alexis Chalupnik, executive assistant to the city manager and public information officer.
“The basis of our Market Days events is to bring foot traffic to the businesses in downtown Imperial. Our newest addition to the business community is Pentagonal Brewing Company and they are receiving an overwhelming response tonight. This is what it is all about,” she added.
Winners for this year’s event include: Best Side Dish, Vicious Smoke; Supreme Showmanship, Republic Services; People’s Choice, Imperial FFA Ag Boosters; and Tri Tip Champion, 5th Gear BBQ.
Imperial has two more events coming up with the St. Patrick’s Day Classic March 17 and the Sweet Onion Festival April 29 featuring the King of the (onion) Ring Cook-Off.