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Rock’n Ribs canceled in 2020

Posted online

Local Rotary and Rotaract clubs announced the annual Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival will be put on hold during 2020.

Steve Stodden, president of of the Rock’n Ribs board, said the April barbecue festival — which includes a ribs competition and live music to raise money for charity — has struggled with ticket sales and sponsorships during the past few years. He cited the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge tournament, which takes place at the same time, growing in popularity.

He did not provide attendance figures by deadline.

Stodden said after the 2020 break, the annual event run by five Rotary clubs and Rotaract would come back in some form.

“The plan is to do something in 2021,” said Stodden, who’s also associate general manager of operations at City Utilities of Springfield. “I don’t know if it’ll still look like a Rock’n Ribs or if it’ll look like something different.”

Stodden also pointed to the difficulty of running a volunteer-led, multiple-day event. One option that’s been floated, he said, is to make Rock’n Ribs a one-day event, similar to the Sertoma Chili Cook Off or Wingapalooza.

“It takes so long to plan these events that it’s tough to figure out how to capture some of the initial energy,” he said.

On the Rock’n Ribs board, Stodden is scheduled to be succeeded on Sept. 1 by Anthony Roberts, executive director of Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and president of Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise.

News of the Rock’n Ribs 2020 cancelation came about when a letter from the Rotary and Rotaract clubs was posted online. The letter indicated the event this year raised $10,000 each for seven nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and Harmony House. The 20-year festival has gathered nearly $2 million for charities.

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