Imperial’s 5th Annual Tri-tip Cook-off draws thousands to Eager Park



Imperial’s 2016 Tri-tip Cook-off Champions Republic Services celebrate their win.

IMPERIAL – The city of Imperial’s Annual Tri-tip Cook-off has grown into a Valley favorite, and the Imperial Market Days event Saturday took the local farmers market to the next level as dozens of vendors and tri-tip cook-off participants, as well as entertainment, were all available for the throngs of people who took advantage of the perfect, sunny day at Eager Park.

Ember Haller, Imperial’s Recreation Services Manager, was enthusiastic about the turnout.

“Sixteen teams are competing for the tri-tip cook-off championship: best side dish, people’s choice award, and best booth,” said Haller. “Every year we increase a little bit. We have three streets around the park filled with tri-tip contestants. Next year, we hope to have all four streets filled. People can come out and enjoy the great food and shop the local vendors. We are having fun!”

Republic Services was the 2016 Tri-Tip Cook-Off Champion taking away the $1,000 top prize and bragging rights.

Tri-tip Cook-off winners included: Champion – Republic Services, Reserve Champion – Vicious Smoke, Third Place – Kill It & Grill It, and Fourth Place – El Centro Moose Lodge. Kill It & Grill It also won the People’s Choice award.

Showmanship awards (based on booth appearance, team presentation, enthusiasm and overall experience) included: Supreme Showmanship – Republic Services, Reserve Showmanship – a two-way tie between Kill It & Grill It and Pit Crew Local 626, Third Place – a two-way tie between Smokin’ Quartz and Steers & Stripes.

Best side dish awards went to Imperial FFA for the best side dish, Pit Crew Local 626 for second place, and Vicious Smoke won third place.