‘Messy Cookers’ make history at muddy cook-off

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY’The Miles Messenger Messy Cookers took both the Super Bowl title and the overall first place spot at this year’s World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-Off. Lonnie Rankin, a past Cook-Off and Super Bowl winner, took the Super Bowl title for the third year in a row. His grandson, Marlon, was chosen as the top cooker in the overall category. Pictured are (left to right) Steve Rankin, Marlon Rankin, Oleta Rankin, Lonnie Rankin and Chamber of Commerce president Dae Locklear. Proving that they really do know the secret to cooking goat, Lonnie Rankin and the Miles Messenger Messy Cookers took top honors in the Super Bowl for the third year in a row, but this time, they made history. For the first time ever in the 28-year history of the Labor Day weekend event, one cooking camp has won both classes in the World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-Off. Using two separate entries, Lonnie Rankin and his grandson, Marlon Rankin, were named as this year’s top winners in the Super Bowl and Goat Cook-Off competitions. Despite the muddy conditions that plagued the usually dry and dusty event, the family of cookers entered two separate times and scored big on both. The senior Rankin, having won his first Cook-Off title in 1983, took the title of Super Bowl champion for the third year in a row making this the fifth time he has won one of the cooking competitions. Bringing home the title as this year’s top cooker in the overall category, the younger Rankin has now proven his capability in tending the pits. In all, three cooking camps, each with two or more individual teams, placed in the top ten in this year’s Labor Day gathering, proving that the best secrets are kept close at hand. In the open cook-off competition, second place went to the Extreme Cookers, part of the West Central Wireless camp. Their camp mates, the West Central Wireless Team #1 placed fifth. Third and seventh places also came from the same camp as Ted Hargrove from Floyd, N. Mex. placed third and Joe Hasselhof of Farwell, N. Mex. placed seventh. Other teams that comprised the top ten placings were Tim Nelson and the Demented Goats cooking team from San Antonio in fourth, Kenneth Morris and the Original Hometown Cooking Boys from Bovina in sixth, Paul Coghcan and the Goat Willies from Brownwood in eighth place, Brady’s own Wiggington Oil Company team in ninth and the 3B and Company team, led by Alton Bradshaw, rounded out the top rankings in tenth place. In the Super Bowl competition, Kyle Cook and the Cook and Company team from Goldthwaite came in second place while Ronnie Horton and the No. 1 BBQ team from Llano placed third. For those who were able to make it around to the various cooking camps, showmanship productions were sure to entertain those who visited. Shows included everything from a full-blown saloon production complete with a cast of some 25 or so individuals of the Kiss My Cabrito team to the historical and authentic 1887 chuck wagon serving up goat’s milk ice cream. This year’s showmanship title was awarded to the Country Cousins camp from Buchanan Dam entered by Ricky (a.k.a. Chief Lie Like a Dog) and Paula Henderson. The rain that pounded the area earlier in the week and left the entire park a virtual mud bog, kept some arts and crafts vendors from making an appearance. For the majority that did come, the crowds were out in full force spending their money and buying up hand made toys and trinkets. The messy conditions that left a little and sometimes a lot of mud on everyone’s shoes, were overshadowed by cooler temperatures that made milling about a pleasant experience as compared to the traditional search for shade spots in 100+’ heat. Diehard competitors and cook-off regulars seemed to roll with the punches as the mud altered camp setups and ease of movement in and around camp. A common scene throughout the entire weekend was a camera crew from the Food Network that attended the event and documented the cook-off from start to finish. The cook-off will be featured in a special national television debut featuring some of the top barbecue cook-offs from around the nation. Several new additions to this year’s list of arts and crafts vendors helped give the event a new look. From a unique cowboy casket company to metal art and cement figurines, cook-off attendees had ample opportunities to find something that peaked their interest. The top booth in the arts and crafts division was Nickie’s Western Metal Art owned and operated by Nickie Gage of Vernon. In the athletic 5K race aptly titled the Goat Gallop, overall winners were first timer Aneel Alvares for the overall men’s and repeat women’s winner Janice Jenkins. The cook-off also gave cooking teams a chance to strut their stuff and their cooking rigs and enter other categories for top bragging rights. In the smallest cooking rig class, Dean Garland of Evant beat out Cody Owens and the Train Gang for the title of smallest rig while on the other end of the spectrum, the Out of Control team from Lamesa again took the top honors for the biggest rig. Maielou Flores of Mexico City, Mexico got the travel award for traveling the farthest distance. In the games division, the seemingly unbeatable duo of Joe Cook and Henry Lemaster again took home first place in the horseshoe pitching competition by beating the team of Robert Nunez, Sr. and Robert Nunez, Jr. They won the double-elimination match for the fifth year in a row. In washer pitching, the team of Robert and Santos Ramos of San Angelo edged the team of Andy Hollon and Bryan King in a close battle for first place. 2001 Cook-Off Results: 2001 Super Bowl: Lonnie Rankin and the Miles Messenger Messy Cookers, Miles. Goat Cook-Off: (First year for ranking top 10 places.) 1. Marlon Rankin and the Miles Messenger Messy Cookers, Miles. 2. Extreme Cooking, San Angelo. 3. Ted Hargrove, Floyd, N. Mex. 4. Tim Nelson and the Demented Goats, San Antonio. 5. West Central Wireless Team #1, San Angelo. 6. Kenneth Morris and the Original Hometown Cooking Boys, Bovina. 7. Joe Hasselhof of Farwell, N. Mex. 8. Paul Coghcan and the Goat Willies, Brownwood. 9. Wiggington Oil Company, Brady. 10. 3B and Company team, Alton Bradshaw, Brady. Super Bowl: 1. Lonnie Rankin and the Miles Messenger Messy Cookers, Miles. 2. Kyle Cook, Cook and Company, Goldthwaite. 3. Ronnie Horton and the No. 1 BBQ team, Llano. Travel Award: Maielou Flores, Mexico City. Top Arts and Crafts Vendor: Nickie’s Western Metal Art. Biggest Cooking Rig: Out of Control, Lamesa. Smallest Cooking Rig: Dean Garland, Evant.

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