Are you up for the Pig N' Wing Challenge?

Imagine tasting ribs and/or chicken wings from 15 different teams who aim to bring their best offering to your plate. Try to constrain yourself.

Darren Glynn pulls back the tinfoil to reveal what he hopes are perfect ribs during the 2018 Pig N' Wing Challenge. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

The Wadena Lions members are smoking something ... again. And that's a good thing for all those who love and appreciate the taste and fun that comes with another year of the Pig N' Wing Challenge.

Organizers are calling this year's barbecue event, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28, the 11 th "Almost" Annual Pig N' Wing Challenge at the Wadena County Fairgrounds. It's an “almost,” Lions member Ryan Anderson said, because they had to cancel last year's event due to COVID-19 precautions and restrictions against large gatherings. They were dearly missed.

If you've never been to this event, consider that it's not just about eating delectable smoked chicken wings and barbecue ribs. The Wadena Lions also put out some amazing hand-cut fries and corn on the cob to go with it. The way you get your hands on the goods is by purchasing tickets then exchanging the tickets for food from the Lions starting at 1 p.m. You can also start exchanging tickets for the ribs and wings being made by the competitors at 5 p.m.

Ticket prices have not yet been set due to fluctuating costs of meat.

If you're looking for more than just food, there's also a car show from 2-6 p.m. To get your car registered in the car show, simply show up the day of the event. Winners are all people's choice. Winners of the barbecue challenge will be announced after 6 p.m and then a live band, brought to the stage by the Wadena County Ag Society, will wrap up the event.


Your patronage to the event does more than just pump the egos of barbecue masters of the region, traveling from all over the state. This event helps raise money for important community projects and student scholarships. Funds this year will be added to funds raised at the Lions other barbecue event held earlier this summer, which was a smashing success. Together, Anderson believes the service group will be able to fully fund a new picnic shelter planned for Tapley Park in Wadena.

About 15 teams have agreed to attend with a registration deadline of Wednesday, as the group needs to order the meat for those attending. There is space for 20 teams. Anderson said the Lions were expecting a strong turnout after no events were held in 2020.

Don't delay in arriving as the group tends to run out of food by the end of the evening. You are welcome to come earlier to sneak a peek at how these competitors do what they do. Teams tend to start their process early in the day with some even camping out the night before to make a weekend of it.

What else are Lions about?

The Wadena Lions are a busy club and use their funds in the local community for many projects. Projects that go beyond the local area include their work to fund training leader dogs for the blind and in gathering used eye glasses at local eye care offices. Those glasses are then shipped to third-world countries where they can be used by people lacking proper eye care and the money to buy corrective lenses.

"If there is a need, we fill that need," Anderson said.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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