Hey, Spike! enjoys learning about Keystone’s Blue Ribbon Bacon Fest
June 18, 2016
If you're on The Summit and into meat, you'll find the 23rd annual Frisco's Colorado BBQ Challenge this weekend, and June 25-26 you can enjoy bucket loads of bacon at Keystone's sixth annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.
This column turns attention to the Des Moines, Iowa-based fun and fundraising efforts of Brooks Reynolds.
While a full-time resident of the Midwest, Brooks is a local here — his parents have owned a Keystone condo since 1979.
"My folks are Stan and Jody Reynolds," he says. "We have a place in Quicksilver near the gas station. I started skiing at Keystone in 1980 when I was 4 years old. I come to Colorado three to four times a year and love it out here."
Further attesting to Brooks' character are former Friscoites Geno and Kathy Garton, who returned to Des Moines in 1992.
"Brooks is a very motivated young man and full of boundless energy. I find it hard to believe that bacon survived before he and his bacon crew came on the scene," says Geno, now living without his famous mustache. "What he and his crew have done to the annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines since it started is unbelievable."
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Oh, how that bacon sizzle brings out the love.
"I've known Geno and the Garton Clan for way too long," he humorously admits. "Kathy has been trying to get me to marry her granddaughter Greta for years."
What started as a group's passion for "all things bacon" has evolved into the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, an international tour — and even a movie.
In 2001, a group of guys began celebrating bacon during an annual weekend retreat at the Porter Cottage in Spirit Lake, Iowa, Brooks explains.
Six years later, they pursued a deeper understanding of their favorite meat by earning "All About Bacon" diplomas from Living History Farms.
On March 1, 2008, they officially organized under the Iowa Bacon Board and led by Brooks, going on to found the world's premier bacon festival, with the mission of "improving the enjoyment of all things bacon" by providing education, recognition, advocacy and research on behalf of the masses.
"We are serious dudes," Brooks emphasizes. "Seriously."
Today, the main Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is an annual event in Des Moines, Iowa.
In addition to the Des Moines and Keystone Resort tour stops, the bacon-centric organization hosts an annual event in Reykjavik, Iceland.
"The Keystone Neighbourhood Company led by Maja Russer and Chelsea 'Chief' Rybak has helped create one of the best bacon festivals in the country," says Brooks.
This summer's festival stars at River Run Plaza again include the entire Iowa Bacon Board:
Marshall Porter, the chief bacon officer; Seth Hall, VP of bacon enjoyment; John Tiffany, the baconniessur and quality control officer; Sergeant of Bacon Mark Pederson, with P. Brooks Reynolds, known as "Face of Bacon."
Last year's Keystone event drew 8,000 bacon lovers who saw Megan Brandt crowned queen.
"At the 2015 tour, her highness blew away the competition at Kickapoo Tavern," recalls Brooks. "Her knowledge of bacon was extensive and her talented bacon dance brought down the house."
Another 2015 winner was Farmland bacon-eating-contestant Cristain Barron, demolishing a pound of bacon in under 3 minutes.
This year there will be over 20-plus food vendors serving up some tasty treats like wild game sliders with bacon from the CMC Culinary Institute, based at Keystone.
Providing the main ingredient for the festival — bacon — are Farmland, Berkwood Farms, Des Moines Bacon Co. and Denver's Syrup.
Festival-goers can enjoy bacon, contests, music and beer and whiskey, plus get smarter about the "gateway meat," according to Brooks.
The Bacon Education Center is the only educational experience of its kind, providing instruction in bacon fellowship, bacon preparation, bacon processing, bacon and whiskey infusion and whiskey mixology. "The bands we have are great and Hells Belles will again be rocking out on Saturday afternoon," adds Brooks.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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