OCONTO—After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the annual Oconto Blowin’ the Doors Off BBQ is coming back this year on Saturday, June 4! Longtime volunteer firefighter and event organizer Clifford Badgley said this will be the first time the BBQ has taken place since 2019.
This year is the 22nd anniversary of the tornado that swept thru Oconto and literally blew the doors and part of the roof off of the Oconto fire hall. Badgley said this is the 20th event and is excited to welcome the crowds. He recalls the biggest event bringing in approximately 1,800 people.
“Our little town of 140 grows quite a bit!” Badgley told KCNI/KBBN.
The Blowin’ the Doors Off BBQ will be held on Saturday, June 4 in Oconto with gates opening at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and less for ages 12 and under. Cash or check only.
Thirteen judges are gearing up to taste the delicious BBQ prepared by around 10 or so cooks. Each cook will prepare about 400 pounds of meat plus other specialty items like beans or BBQ sauce. The event organizers supply the food but the cooks and countless volunteers help make this event possible in order to benefit the Oconto Volunteer Fire Department (VFD).
“We’re raising money so we can afford equipment as volunteers,” Badgley—who has served on the Oconto VFD for nearly 37 years—said. “We know how much the fire department needs resources and it takes money to make those resources work.”
In addition to the BBQ, an auction and raffles will take place with items such as an etched Henry Riffle, custom knife, Traeger grill, giftcards, etc.
Music will be provided by South Loup Sunrise and Borderline.
Badgley said adult beverages will be available but this is a family friendly event. Event attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs.
“It’s a family event, that’s what we’re trying to keep this at,” he said.
Tickets are available at Nebraska State Bank in Callaway, Eggleston Oil, or you can contact a member of the Oconto VFD. Contact Badgley Well Service in Oconto at 308-858-4409 or Eggleston Oil 308-858-4400 for more information or to volunteer.
“If you’re willing to help out a little bit that’d be fantastic and we’ll find a place for you. It’s for a great cause,” Badgley told KCNI/KBBN. “The food is mouth-watering good!”