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Business: Locals take top spots at rib cook-off



BJ’s BBQ of Sparks got the first place trophy at the 33rd Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off.

According to a Nugget spokesperson, BJ’s owner Jay Rathmann, said, “I’m ecstatic! It’s been a little bit since we took first and now we have bookends!” 

Carson City BBQ took fourth place. This year’s event featured four locals out of the 21 barbecue outfits, including Brothers Barbecue from Reno, Git-R-Smoked and BJ’s Barbecue from Sparks and Carson City Barbecue from the capital city. 

Two new cookers this year were: Armadillos Real Down Home BBQ from Naperville, Illinois and Mansmith’s BBQ from Lava, Idaho.

BJ’s has competed in more than 30 of the annual competitions that draw massive crowds to downtown Sparks. Their last first place win was in 1998.

This is the second year in a row that a local cooker has won. Git-R-Smoked took home top honors in 2021. 

The list of winners:

  • 1st Place – BJ’s Barbecue
  • 2nd Place – Porky Chicks BBQ
  • 3rd Place – Back Forty Texas Barbecue
  • 4th Place – Carson City BBQ
  • 5th Place – Checkered Pig BBQ
  • Best Sauce – Just North of Memphis

Next year’s event is scheduled from Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 through Sept. 4. 

More business headlines


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  • September employer tabling event
  • TMCC info day and campus tour
  • Reno-Sparks Chamber candidate forums
  • Reno-Tahoe international art show
  • Philanthropy leaders summit
  • Great Reno balloon race

Business News Briefs

Used outdoor gear shop Gear Hut has moved to a bigger location. Gear Hut’s new space, two blocks from its original site, at 318 Broadway Blvd. is more than 2,000 square feet with the capacity to accommodate up to 10 hard boats and 12 mountain bikes. Co-Owner Leah Wzientek comments, “We loved our old location in the Wells District, so finding a larger location in the area was important to us. It’s accessible and walkable, the vibe is neighborly and we love the community. Gear Hut opened in 2018 and is a consignment-based business model that co-owner Rusty Donlon says is “filling a much needed void here in Reno.” 

City of Reno names new revitalization manager. Bryan McArdle started as the city’s revitalization manager on Sept. 1. In the role he’ll oversee economic development, redevelopment and revitalization programs, projects, services and activities for the city. He comes to the city from the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN). “Bryan’s efforts will play a critical role in helping The Biggest Little City continue to grow and thrive,” City Manager Doug Thornley said. “Bryan has a strong background in revitalization and economic development, and he will be an outstanding addition to the team.” McArdle will also develop and implement strategies for the revitalization of deteriorated properties within the City and manage the City’s property program.

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