Iowans do love their traditions and competition, so when it comes to State Fair season, there are so many different opportunities for Iowans to show off. 

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One tradition that has been a must-see at the Iowa State Fair for 58 years is the Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout. Each year, wood-fired flames stretch along the Iowa State Fair’s Grand Concourse as backyard cooks showcase their best dishes. 

In a release from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, President Bent Johnson says contestants reflect the dedication that farmers feel towards their livestock. 

The Farm Bureau Cookout Contest has become a staple of the state fair and is a great way to showcase the diversity of Iowa livestock production and Iowa’s best backyard cooks.

This year’s Champion from Warren County prepared coffee-rubbed smoked beef ribs which he calls 'OMG Smoked Beef Ribs'.

. Steve Heaberlin prepared his meaty fall-off-the-bones ribs that were a judge- favorite at the event. Some even said this was one of the best dishes to come through the decades-old contest. 

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

Not only was Heaberlin the event’s overall champion, but he also won first place in the beef division. Heaberlin’s ribs beat out entries such as dry rubbed prime rib, stuffed pork loin, baby back pork ribs, smoked chicken, and turkey dishes.

Other competitors prepared exotic dishes such as elk burgers, lamb fajitas, pheasant kabobs, smoked pork belly tacos, and various bacon-wrapped dishes- all of which caught the judges' attention and fairgoers. 

As the champion backyard cook, Heaberlin received $300, the champion crown, trophy, and another $300 for winning the beef division. 

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