BERLIN – There was a new winner in the WingZilla Chicken Wing Cook-off but a familiar champion successfully defended her title in the KillaZilla Hot Wings Eating Contest. And for the first time ever, there was a RibZilla competition at what had been only a chicken wing contest.
Drawing a record crowd estimated at about 3,000, Paula Kinney, executive director of the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the event continues to grow in popularity. She said the weather was perfect and everyone had fun.
“It was a great day,” she said.
Ten competitors competed in the chicken wing contest, offering up 13 different recipes. In a major upset, first place went to Maranda Pelletier and Kristen Croteau of Big Belly Snacks for their spicy maple wings. The pair defeated Lam’s Catering, which took first and second place last year. Second place this year went to Luc Poulin and James LaPlante and Northwoods Accessories – first time competitors in the cook-off.
Third place went to Anthony Horne and Team Fire Ants while Missy Wedge and Boneyard Wings took home the People’s Choice Award.
Four teams competed in the rib competition – three of the teams also competed in the chicken wing competition. The three winners were all new competitors in the cook-off. First place went to Rob Jewett and his Smokin Ribbie J’s, second went to Northwoods Accessories, and Road Hawg BBQ took third place. The People’s Choice Award for ribs went to Smokin Ribbie J’s as did the Kid’s Choice Award.
Kinney said close to 3,000 pounds of wings and ribs were consumed throughout the afternoon and evening with a recipe to satisfy every taste.
Tina Mann defended her title in the KillaZilla Hot Wing Eating Contest over four challengers picked at random. Mann has won the title multiple times, despite the scorching recipe put together by former firehouse chef Bill Maddelena.
Kinney said the Luau Poker Run, organized by the Professional Firefighters of Berlin Local 1088, was the best so far with close to 200 hands sold. The poker run is a benefit for Operation Warm and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Operation Warm provides new warm winter coats to local kids. Kinney said this is the fifth year for the Luau Poker Run and it broke records this year. She said in addition to providing a fun and entertaining event, the poker run raises money for two great causes.
Kinney said rocking the evening was the Maine band, “One Hit Thunder”, which she described as phenomenal.
“They did not disappoint,” she said.
In addition to the food and music, the day featured horseshoe and a cornhole tournaments, kid games, a beer tent, and plenty of opportunities to socialize.
N.H. Distributors was the title sponsor of WingZilla while Brookfield and Capone Steel were also donors to the effort.
With another successful Wingzilla behind it, the chamber will now get ready for RiverFire on Oct. 13.