Saturday, June 21, 2014

Running for Ribs

On Father's Day my parents and I went to Rock n' Ribfest in Merrimack, NH! It's exactly what it sounds like - a festival of BBQing, rib cooking, music, and awesomeness! There was also a 5 mile road race that my mom and I ran together. We weren't aware of it, but it was actually the National Championship for the 5 mile distance, so the place was packed with over 2,000 runners, including many elite runners!

My dad was taking photos at the Start/Finish line and managed to find us in the crowd as we passed by! He acted as our awesome support crew - even though it was the day to celebrate him, he was still working hard to make sure that we had everything we needed to make our race successful. Talk about the best Dad ever, huh?!

The race itself was nice and flat, save for a few hills at the beginning & mid-points, but it was hot with very little shade, so the pavement had us cookin'. We both managed to finish with decent times for the conditions, though! I also saw multiple 9-10 year olds just killin' it on the race course, as well as some super parents passing me while pushing multiple children in strollers. #champs

After the race was over, we had some time to kill before heading into Ribfest and sampling all of the barbeque deliciousness. The whole event was on the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, so we decided to pay the Budweiser Clydesdales a little visit!  

These horses are HUGE but seemed to be very good-natured. I think they're *very* used to attention from people and the snapping of photos, as they appear in commercials and even go on tour every so often! So essentially, we were hanging out with celebrity horses.

We walked around an enjoyed the sunshine and company of our new animal friends for a while longer before finally heading into the much anticipated festival! We went through the gates as soon as they opened, and technically we were still a few minutes out from the cooking from really getting started, so we explored a bit and came across a local high school robotics team showing off their basketball playing robot.

(I wasn't kidding.)

Once the rib chefs put their first racks on the grill, we headed over to grab our lunch. There were lots of different rib joints there from all over the world (including Australia!) competing for the Rock n' Ribfest trophy, so we had a pretty hard time deciding which place we wanted to try.

However, we decided to go with the places that both seemed to have a decent trophy collection: Jack's Downhome Barbeque from Virginia, and Gator BBQ from Naples, Florida!

We got a half rack of ribs from Jack's and a pulled pork sandwich and BBQ chicken from Gator BBQ:

We all sat in the grass, listened to the bands play, and shared the delicious barbeque feast. Both places made awesome food and everything was devoured pretty quickly. I knew that Ribfest was an annual event in NH, but I had no idea it was this awesome! I'll definitely be returning in the future. It was such a gorgeous day and it was awesome getting to spend it with my parents on Father's Day!

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