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PHOTOS: A Review of the 2017 Annual Rib Cook-off


The 2017 Nugget Rib Cook-off rocked every night with a very good entertainment line up. The event started Wed. Aug. 30 and ran through Mon. Sept. 3, 2017. The main stage headliners this year included a perfect mixture of music that all that attended this years event could also enjoy a great show every night.


On opening day (Wednesday) power pop rockers The Romantics played a 75-minute set for the 900-plus fans that were in attendance. The band from Detroit Michigan was formed in 1977. Their biggest hit ” What I Like About You” was one of their encore songs. Current members include: Wally Palmer (vocals), Mike D. Skill (guitar), Rich Cole (bass) and Brad Elvis (drums).

Night Ranger

On day two (Thursday), the big guns showed up as rockers Night Ranger hit the stage with a flawless ninety minute set. These guys never disappoint, just ask any of the 1,100-plus fans that were there.

The band’s set was one of those sets that you know all the words to all the songs. They even did a couple Damn Yankee tunes.

Night Ranger’s current line up is: Jack Blades (lead vocals, bass), Brad Gillis (lead guitar), Keri Kelli (guitar), Eric Levy (keyboards) and Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals). Night Ranger is a band that you never get tired of seeing live in concert.

Day three (Friday) was the day country music came to the barbecue as American country stars Love & Thefts got their turn on the main stage. The band from Nashville, Tenn. was formed in 2006 by Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, who both play acoustic guitar and do the vocals. I’ve never seen these guys play live before and still haven’t. Due to a previous commitment, I missed them again. I was told by some very reliable sources that the boys did a fantastic job.

Gin Blossoms

Day four (Saturday) brought back rock band the Gin Blossoms to the Cook-off, they played a couple of years back and rocked the place just like this year. Known for their hit single, “Hey Jealousy,” which was their encore song for this show, the band formed in 198y and hails from Tempe, Ariz.

Current members Include, Robin Wilson (lead vocals, guitar), Jesse Valenzuela (guitar, backing vocals), Scott “Scotty” Johnson (guitar, backing vocals), Bill Leen (bass) and Scott Bessel (drums).

Eric Paslay

Day five (Sunday) saw country music singer/songwriter Eric Paslay to wow all the women in the audience with his presence. Paslay who hails from Abilene, Texas, has written many hit singles for many big country superstars over the years. The band did around a 75-minute set which had the crowd (mostly female) screaming the entire set.

After the show Paslay had a meet-and-greet on the side of the stage. It looked like the entire audience jumped in line to meet him — it was a very long line.


Day six (Monday), the last day of the Rib Cook-off, saw English new wave band A Flock of Seagulls hit the stage. The band formed in 1980 by the only original member left, Mike Score. Other band members were Joe Rodrigues, Kevin Rankin and Pando. They played around 70 minutes and did a very good set, playing all their hits. Lots of people sang along to many of the songs — it was truly amazing.

This year’s lineup as good as all the ribs. I ate so many ribs this year I can’t even look at one now … Until next year that is.

Congratulations to this years winner Chicago BBQ Company from Burr Ridge, Ill. And always remember to support your local bands and venues … Go to a show!

John Tuckness
John Tuckness
John Tuckness has been photographing rock concerts in the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area and as far as Northern California since 2004. He tries to attend as many shows as he can. John knew he wanted to be a concert photographer when he went to his first concert, Kiss and Montrose way back in 1976. He saw three guys shooting the show and thought to himself, "that's what I want to do." After many years of undercover work (sneaking his camera into venues), he finally got noticed and started getting photo passes through PR people and the bands. John has had many of his photos published in newspapers, websites and band autobiographies.




PHOTOS: It’s not just ribs at the annual Nugget Rib Cookoff

Cookers from as far away as Florida and New Jersey are in Sparks this week for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff, which continues through Monday, Sept. 5.