CattleWomen hosts grilling contest

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What: Eighth annual Routt County CattleWomen's cook-off

When: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today

Where: Ace at the Curve, 2155 Curve Plaza

Cost: A lunch ticket for food provided by Steamboat Smokehouse is $10; a ticket to sample the results of a grilling contest is $8; tickets to try both lunch options are $15

Call: Michelle at 879-2250 or Ace at the Curve at 879-8014

— Contestants in the Routt County CattleWomen's eighth annual cook-off were expected to start setting up their grills at about 6:30 a.m. today.

As of early Friday afternoon, six people were on board to pick up a cut of locally produced River Ranches beef brisket Friday night, said CattleWoman and cook-off organizer Michelle McKee. Contestants were allowed to marinate or otherwise season and prepare the meat in advance, but cooking would not be allowed until competitors showed up at Ace at the Curve this morning, McKee said.

"Every year, we pick a different cut of beef, and this year, the cut of beef is beef brisket," she said. A panel of local judges will rate the brisket and choose a winner, who will take home a Weber Spirit E-210 grill. Samples of all the beef entries will be available to the public starting at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets for a grilling contest sampler plate are $8, and a lunch including barbecue beef, potato salad and baked beans provided by Steamboat Smokehouse will be available for $10. Hungry eaters can purchase a combined ticket for $15.

Beef takes center stage at any CattleWomen event, but today's cook-off also features a homemade pie contest, a dunk tank, a petting zoo with goats and lambs, and a contest that awards rodeo tickets for guessing the weight of a calf. Employees of Ace and a few "Steamboat celebrities" will take a few plunges in the dunk tank, McKee said.

Registration for the grilling contest closed Wednesday. Bakers are invited to bring their pies to Ace until 10:30 a.m. today, and enter the contest for a chance to win a $100 savings bond from Mountain Valley Bank.

In its eighth year, the cook-off has grown from a chance to eat and celebrate Routt County beef to a day for family fun, said CattleWoman Jo Stanko.

"It has expanded from just the cook-off - originally it was the lunch and you could buy a ticket to go taste the samples - to kind of a fun family carnival where there are a lot of different activities," Stanko said.

The goal of the cook-off is "to educate people about beef and get our name out there, and to raise money for the scholarship fund," McKee said. So far this year, the CattleWomen have given $4,000 in scholarship money to local students, and they plan to award about $5,000 more, she said.

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