Weather Forecast


Pig and Wing back for an encore

The second annual Pig and Wing Challenge will be held at the Wadena Elks Lodge on Aug. 6.

Serving to the public begins at 5 p.m., but there will be adult beverages earlier in the afternoon. Music with Karaoke and DJ on the Rox runs from 1-7 p.m. Judging will start at about 4:30 p.m.

The contest is open to both professional chefs and amateur cooks, with proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"You can cook wings or ribs. It's a $25 entry fee," organizer Don Scheller said.

There are cash prizes for first, second and third place in each category, along with a people's choice award.

Besides the meat, there will be French fries and corn on the cob available.

"You can buy a ticket for a dollar, and that dollar will get you one rib, or it will get you two wings," Scheller said.

Pigs may not fly like they do in the event's promotional poster, but weather permitting, a few humans will.

Four raffle winners will get to soar on a hot air balloon which leaves the Elks Club at 7 p.m. Raffle tickets are $10, and will be drawn between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Scheller said that Ed Chapman of Balloon Ascensions Unlimited will also be around that week for people who want to schedule private rides and look at the Wadena area from the sky.

"He's a retired pilot. He's set a lot of records for height and distance, and he owns a lot of hot air balloon records," Scheller said.

Scheller said that he and fellow organizer Tyler Ehrmantraut of TC Backyard Bar-B-Q got the idea of the Pig and Wing Challenge when they talked about cooking contests around Minnesota.

"They're a lot of fun, but most of the time they're expensive, and most of the time there's only professionals. And so we thought we would change it up a little bit, make it a little more economical for people, put the amateurs in there because some of them are pretty competitive when it comes to their ribs and their chicken wings. And it just kind of evolved from there," Scheller said.

Last year's contest earned nearly $1,380 for Make-A-Wish.

He said that the wings and ribs sell quickly, and people who show up late in the evening will probably be disappointed.

"We had great weather last year, and we're going to hold it rain or shine," he said.

Among the contestants in the Ribs category are Big Bob's Smoking Bones of Perham, Pine Cove of Wadena, Cris Schimitz of Staples, Steve Weishair of Eagle Bend, the McGrane Pit Crew of Bluffton and TC Backyard Bar-B-Q of Wadena.

Some of the contestants for wings include the Pine Cove, Bullseye Bar of Verndale, Dave Kleinke of Wadena, Weishair and TC Backyard Bar-B-Q.

Judges for ribs are Scott Koennicke, Menahga police chief; Bill Cross, chief deputy of the Wadena County Sheriff's Department; and Troy Wangsness, Wadena County sheriff's deputy.

Judges for wings are Dr. Stephen Davis; Amy Ament, Wadena County sheriff's investigator; and Bryan Savaloja, Wadena County sheriff's deputy.

Scheller said they expect a bigger crowd this second year, and there is room for more contestants.

To enter the contest or for general questions, contact Scheller at (218) 631-3333 or Ehrmantraut at (218) 639-1641.