The ultimate guide to the 29th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off (File photo: KRNV)

One of the hottest, highly-anticipated events of the year is returning to Sparks this Labor Day Weekend.

The 29th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will run August 30 through September 4 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Victorian Square in Sparks.

The barbecue, music, and craft festival is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admission, parking and entertainment are free for all attendees!

If you don't feel like dealing with parking, there will be two free shuttles to and from the event. In Sparks, you can park at the Iron Horse Shopping Center at 535 E. Prater Way. In Reno, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center is offering another free shuttle in their parking lot on the corner of Coliseum Way and Peckham Lane. Shuttles run Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There will be 22 of the world's most-decorated and talented rib cookers from all over the world competing for a total cash prize of $19,500 and the title of "Best in the West."

In 2016, Rasta Joe’s BBQ Inc., of Rochester, IN, took home the title of “Best in the West.” Second place went to Bone Daddy’s competitive barbecue team from Midland, MI, and Joey’s Texas Thunder, from Borger, TX, won 3rd place. The 2016 People’s Choice Award was claimed by Montana Q Bar-B-Que House, from Frenchtown, MT.

For the first time this year, voting for the People’s Choice Award will be held online! Attendees can vote for their favorite rib cookers by visiting the official Rib Cook Off website at and then clicking on the “Vote Here” link. Voting begins on Wednesday, August 30th at 10:30 a.m. and ends on Sunday, September 3rd at 9:00 p.m. Participants may vote once per day, with a valid email address. The winner will be announced on Monday, September 4th at 2:00 pm on the Plaza Stage.

Now aside from the absolutely amazing food -- there will be quite the lineup of entertainers this year.

Main stage entertainment

  • Wednesday, August 30th: The Romantics – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 31st: Night Ranger – 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 1st: Love & Theft – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 2nd: Gin Blossoms – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 3rd: Eric Paslay – 7:00 p.m.
  • Monday, September 4th: A Flock of Seagulls – 3:00 p.m.

Plaza stage entertainment

  • Wednesday, August 30th: Bon Fire (Tribute to AC/DC) – 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 31st: Shades of Twain (Tribute to Shania Twain) – 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 1st: Boogie Nights (Classic Disco) – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 2nd: Country Artists (Tribute to Kenny Chesney) – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 3rd: Life in the Fastlane (Songs of the Eagles) – 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday, September 4th: Ultimate Stones (Tribute to the Rolling Stones) – 1:00 p.m.

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