It is that time of year already and I’m working on rounding up sponsors for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. This event is the biggest barbeque festival in the country. There are approximately 500,000 visits to the event. I wrote visits instead of attendees because many folks come back every day trying to taste ribs from all 24 rib cookers that are competing in the contest. The magnitude of this event is unimaginable for most people. Last year we sold 241,000 pounds of ribs over the 6 day event. An event this big takes a village, and lots of sponsors.
There are two types of sponsorships for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. The first is the total event sponsorship or national sponsorship, the second type of sponsorship is the Rib Village sponsorship. I will write another blog post later about the total event and national sponsorships; this blog post will focus on the Rib Village sponsorship.
The Rib Village is the most wonderful VIP experience you can have at the Rib Cook-Off. This is the area within the event where you can get UNLIMITED ribs and drinks when you purchase a table through the lottery or through sponsorship. Tables are sold directly $950 each for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; and $850 each for Wednesday and Monday. We sell a limited number of single seats at Monday’s Rib Village and sometimes people get lucky and can buy them the night of the event at the door if sponsors return any tickets.
The Lottery is Born…
There is so much demand for the VIP Rib Village tables that we’ve had to start a lottery. Years ago, before I was the director of the event, they used to have a first come – first serve system. People would start lining up in front of the executive offices to buy their tickets, they started camping out just like the crazy shoppers on Black Friday. This started to be a problem for many reasons, but after two customers got into a fight in line the Nugget had had enough and decided they needed to make a change. The only way to make this fair for all the masses that wanted to buy tables was to start a lottery for table purchases. Now we have a link on the website and people all year-round put their name in the lottery. In July we pull the lottery and contact the people that are randomly selected. For those that don’t want to take the gamble and enter the lottery, we offer sponsorship opportunities.
Between now and mid-July I will sell as many tables as I possibly can to sponsors. The rest of the tables go into the lottery inventory. We’ve had nights where there were only 12 tables in the lottery inventory and other nights where there were about three dozen tables. The inventory depends on how many tables the sponsors purchase. It all depends on how successful we are at sponsorship sales, so take my advice, skip the lottery and become a sponsor.
How much is a Rib Village sponsorship?
Rib Village sponsors pay $2,900 for the sponsorship. They receive two tables, each table seats 10 people. They also get to display a banner in the village, their business name is listed on the welcome sign at the entrance, and they have the ability to put flyers and swag on the tables with the Nugget’s approval. They also have the option to buy additional tables without going into the lottery. This is the real value for corporations that use this event for marketing, schmoozing customers, and for employee recognition events.
So far I’m off to a good start with sponsorship sales this year. There is always turn over each year with sponsors but we usually make up for the loss of old sponsors with new sponsors. Reno is starting to really see some dynamic changes and new companies are announcing that they are moving here every day, so we expect to see some new names this year. Who knows? Maybe we will get lucky and our new neighbors Tesla or Amazon will become new sponsors. I’m sure they will come calling when they smell the Ribs cooking over Labor Day weekend.
Want to become a sponsor or have questions about the event? Please contact me at Lisa_Jansen@janugget.com.