The Ultimate Guide to the 27th Annual

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off

The 27th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will run Wednesday, September 2 through Monday, September 7, 2015 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. This must-attend barbecue, music and craft festival is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday. Admission, parking and entertainment are free!

More than 500,000 visitors and 240,000 pounds of ribs were served in 2014. The wide variety of activities within the event, including the Nugget World Rib Eating Championship, a carnival area with rides and activities, and top-notch entertainment – not to mention the best barbecue in the country - all come together to draw thousands of people to Victorian Square every extended Labor Day weekend.

Rib Cookers:

Twenty-four of the world’s most-decorated and talented rib cookers will feed event goers, while competing for a total cash purse of $14,500 and the title of “Best in the West” – a designation many cookers consider to be the ultimate prize in high-volume, competitive barbecue.

In 2014, Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Company from Hinckley, Ohio took home the title of “Best in the West.” Second place went to Bone Daddy’s BBQ from Midland, Michigan and Famous Dave’s competitive barbecue team from Minnetonka, Minnesota won 3rd place. The 2014 People’s Choice Award was given to Back Forty Texas Barbecue from Pleasant Hill, California.

Three new competitors will join this elite line-up of rib cookers, including Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ from Burr Ridge, Illinois, Montana Q Bar-B-Que House from Frenchtown, Montana and Smokin’ Joe’s Hog Wild Barbecue from Mansfield, Ohio.

The 21 other rib cookers making their return to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off are Aussom Aussie BBQ Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Back Forty Texas Barbecue (Pleasant Hill, CA); The Barbecue Company (Phoenix, AZ); BJ’s Barbecue (Sparks, NV); Bone Daddy’s BBQ (Midland, MI); Bourbon Q (Westport, KY); Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ (Mt. Laurel, NJ); Carson City BBQ (Carson City, NV); Checkered Pig BBQ (Martinsville, VA); Chicago BBQ Company (Burr Ridge, IL); Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Company (Hinckley, OH); Famous Dave’s BBQ (Minnetonka, MN and Reno, NV); Hole in the Wall BBQ (Eugene, OR); Johnson’s Bar-B-Que (Chesapeake, VA); Just North of Memphis (Minneapolis, MN); Kinder’s Custom Meats Inc. (Concord, CA); Porky ‘N Beans (Port Saint Lucie, FL) Rasta Joe’s BBQ Inc. (Rochester, IN); Texas Outlaw Barbecue (Elizabethtown, KY); Texas Thunder BBQ (Borger, TX); and Uncle Bub’s (Westmont, IL).

Nugget World Rib Eating Championship:

Wednesday, September 2 at 6 p.m. at the Main Stage

Major League Eating (MLE), the governing body of all stomach-centric sports, will host the 10th annual Nugget World Rib Eating Championship at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2, at the Main Stage. The country’s best competitive eaters, including #1-ranked Matt “Megatoad” Stonie and #2-ranked Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will vie for $5,000 in prize money and the title of Nugget World Rib-Eating Champion. MLE conducts more than 90 events annually, including the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY. Joey Chestnut won the championship in 2014 after eating 9.27 pounds of ribs during the 12-minute contest.


The Nugget Casino Resort will welcome many talented musicians to be a big part of the celebration. All of the entertainment is provided free-of-charge.

Wednesday, September 2:

Floor & Décor West End Stage –
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Jeff Jones
2:30 p.m. – 5: 30 p.m. – Blue Haven
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Alias Smith
7 p.m. – MAIN STAGE: Mojo Green & Jelly Bread

Thursday, Sept. 3

Floor & Décor West End Stage –
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Tyler Stafford
2:30 p.m. – 5: 30 p.m. – Valentine Rodeo
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Buddy Emmer
7 p.m. - MAIN STAGE: Jamestown Revival

Friday, Sept. 4

Floor & Décor West End Stage –
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Rick Hammond Blues Band
2:30 p.m. – 5: 30 p.m. – Jason King Band
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – John Dawson Band
7 p.m. - MAIN STAGE: Dishwalla

Saturday, Sept. 5

Floor & Décor West End Stage –

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Guitar Woody and the Boilers
2:30 p.m. – 5: 30 p.m. – Greg Golden Band
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Mark Sexton Band

Sunday, Sept. 6

Floor & Décor West End Stage -

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Max Volume Band
2:30 p.m. – 5: 30 p.m. – Audio Sky
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – West Bay Rhythm
7 p.m. - MAIN STAGE: Foghat

Monday, Sept. 7

Floor & Décor West End Stage -
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Delta Cat
2:00 p.m.– Awards Ceremony
2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Armer and the Hot Dogs
3 p.m. - MAIN STAGE: ALO

Shuttle Service:

Daily shuttle service from the Outlets at Legends will run Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. There is no shuttle service on Monday. The pickup location will be in the unpaved lot between Fuddruckers and Popeye’s, and the drop-off location is the RTC Centennial Plaza on Victorian Square.

New Beer Garden:

The Nugget Casino Resort is partnering with Budweiser to bring a brand new craft Beer Garden area to the rib cook-off. The Beer Garden will be located on Victorian Plaza, near the fountain. Craft beers have grown in popularity and attendees have been asking the Nugget to expand its selection at the event. Enjoy select craft beers that were specially selected to pair well with delicious barbecue.

Kids’ Area:

There will be a children’s area located on the west end of Victorian Plaza. Children will delight in an array of rides and activities. Ride tickets will be available for purchase just outside the kids’ area.


The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off’s famous mascot, Mr. Ribster will return to the event this year. He will be walking around during the event and making a special appearance at the Ribster Lunch on Saturday, September 5 from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at

The Official After-Party:

The cookers at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off close their booths at 9 p.m, but that doesn’t mean the party is over. Head inside the Nugget Casino Resort to Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & Bar-b-que for the Official After-Party. Gilley’s is offering prizes for the best mechanical-bull riders on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights after 9 p.m.