2015 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off judges get ready to eat samples from 24 rib cookers at Sparks event

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As 24 rib cookers from all over the world compete for top honors at the 2015 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, a panel of 14 judges will work behind-the-scenes to determine who makes the best ribs.

It's not just bragging rights the cookers are competing for, — $14,500 in cash is up for grabs for the cookers who impress the judges.

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And there are rules to follow. Judges are not permitted to sample any ribs from the rib cookers before the judging takes place on Sunday, September 6, 2015. The judging is double-blind, meaning neither the judges, nor the staff setting up the judging, know which ribs belong to which cooker. The judges will eat the same ribs served to customers during the cook-off.
The winners will be announced at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7 on the Floor & Decor West End Stage.

This year's judges are a mix of top culinary professionals, food critics and media personalities. They include:

Head Judge: Alan Zeman, Rational USA
Allen Pierleoni, Sacramento Bee
D. Brian Burghart, Reno News & Review
Eric Grossman, Food and Travel Writer
Gerrish Lopez, Food and Travel Writer/Photographer
Joe Eidem, American Culinary Federation & High Sierra Chefs Association
Kelly Ann Scott, Reno Gazette-Journal
Ken Wayne, KTVU
Lara Ritchie, Nothing To It! Culinary Center
Matt Russell, On the Menu…Live!
Mike Alger, KTVN
Mike Peters, Great American BBQ Tour
Ron James, Wild 102.9
Spud Hilton, San Francisco Chronicle

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