Bakken BBQ breaks decade-long attendance record

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Jun. 20—DICKINSON — Sporting everything from tie dye shirts to 80s fanny packs, oil field companies and more brought the "Party of the Decades" to the West River Ice Center parking lot on Friday for the ultimate barbeque cook-off.

The 10th Annual Bakken BBQ broke records not only with the 46 cooking companies, but an attendance of approximately 5,000 that flooded the event for barbeque grits and to help support Make-A-Wish North Dakota.

Bakken BBQ Co-founder

Jackie Jenkin

has been a part of the event since it kicked off in 2012 and said they were touched with emotion during the event.

"It's so awesome. I feel a little emotional because today, I was talking to some of the companies and you forget how much this event impacts the people that come and cook and how supportive they are and how it's a part of their lives," Jenkin said. "So it's so cool, and I'm just really excited. It makes me feel so good. It gives me goosebumps."

Bringing some state recognition to the Bakken BBQ was North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley and Congressman Kelly Armstrong, R-ND, who both spent a few moments addressing the crowd. Wrigley was also one of the judges for the barbeque cook-off.

"... It's also fun to see the things I love the best — Dickinson, the oil patch, raising money for good causes whether it's Make-A-Wish, Backpack group or just people who need a little leg up because life's gotten bad," Wrigley said, as he thanked all who participated in the charity event.

Cody Adolphson, a welder from Bismarck, came to the event, bringing a unique item to auction off — a meat cleaver that he had created himself.

"I have a few friends that were a part of Make-A-Wish and it meant a lot to me, so I decided I better get something made and donate it," Adolphson said, adding that he usually donates items he makes several times each year to causes he feels personally connected to.

As the newest champion of History Channel's "Forged in Fire," Adolphson is the first and only North Dakotan winner to carry the title.

"... I only had three hours to build two hidden tang knives out of canister damascus. And then in the second round, which I moved on to, I had to put handles to those knives and then they brutally tested them by banging it into a 55-gallon oil drum and cutting a turnbuckle bag," he said.

With the meat cleaver that was auctioned off for $750, Adolphson noted that it was made with 40 layers of 1095 steel and pure nickel, featuring a G10 handle.

"I decided we're at a barbeque, I might as well make a meat cleaver," he said, noting, "Personally, I had a few people that I know who have had cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation actually reached out and helped them out in their time of need."

Bell Energy Services, a trucking company based out of Killdeer, participated in the Bakken BBQ for the first time and at the end of the night, received the trophy for "Beef Meisters." All day Thursday, Business Development Manager Jason Buckman noted that the Bell Energy Services crew spent preparing for the cook-off from trimming the beef briskets, dicing up pineapple and then smoking the beef briskets for 16 hours.

"It's pretty cool. It's for Make-A-Wish and I honestly think it's a great charity. I wish we could do even more for them," Buckman said. "It's really a cool charity... We just like being a part of the community and helping out."

Other trophy winners included Devon Energy for "King Cluckers," ProLift for "Notorious PIG" and Denny's Electric for "Legendary Smokers."

Though the Bakken BBQ Committee is still totaling the final tally for attendance and funds raised, Jenkin noted that this event wouldn't be possible without the companies who participate. The Bakken BBQ benefits the entire southwest community from the Bakken to those in need, she added.