Food truck teaming up with local bar to host wing competition

Published 4:15 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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By Ayanna Eckblad

As the weather gets warmer, people are more eager than ever to get out of their houses and enjoy some outdoor cooking. And what better way to kick off this year’s grilling season than with a backyard wing competition.

On April 27, Smokin’ Barrel Barbecue will host their first backyard wing competition, Wingstock 2024, at Geneva Bar and Grill.

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Smokin’ Barrel Barbecue is a food trailer owned by Shane Chapek and operated with his business partner, Sara Engelby. The two started the business in 2017, mainly selling at rodeos and other private events. Now they are excited to expand Smokin’ Barrel from just providing food to hosting an event.

“I wanted to have a get together,” Chapek said.

While there are a lot of events throughout the state, Engelby said people mostly have to drive an hour or more to get to those events.

Chapek and Engelby have wanted to have this competition for years and were excited when Greg and Chelsea Hanson from Geneva Bar & Grill reached out and offered to be the location for the event.

“Greg and Chelsea have a lot of experience with hosting large community events,” Engelby said. “In fact, they host some of the biggest community events in Freeborn County. We are grateful to be working with them.”

Quite a bit of planning had to go into an event of this scale.

“We wanted to start with just something simple, just do one kind of meat and just kind of go from there,” Engelby said. “This is something that Shane has wanted to do for a really long time just because he enjoys the cooking so much and, kind of that camaraderie of everyone coming together and comparing recipes and techniques.”

After deciding what kind of event this would be, Chapek and Engelby sent news about Wingstock 2024 to Albert Lea as well as the surrounding areas in Freeborn and Steele counties.

Wingstock will feature two types of competitions. The first will be a wing cooking competition. There will be up to 20 participants, and each will need to cook 14 dozen chicken wings, which will be provided and covered by the competition entry fee. Although this sounds like a lot of wings, Engelby encourages potential competitors not to become intimidated and to instead focus on enjoying a day of outdoor cooking with friends.

“Don’t overstress it,” she said. “We’ve been to backyard wing competitions, and it’s easy to get anxious about everything … We want people to just come and have fun, and be able to socialize with each other.”

Regardless of skill level, Chapek and Engelby want the public to know that they will be there to help with people who are inexperienced or simply have questions.

The winners of the competition will be determined by a combination of taste testers and a panel of five judges. The judges will do blind tasting to keep the contest objective. The top three submissions in the judged portion of the competition will win trophies and cash. First place will receive $150, second place will receive $100 and first place will receive $50.

The second type of competition will be wing eating. One round of the competition will determine who can eat the most chicken wings in a specified amount of time, and a second round will determine who can eat the most “insanely hot” wings in a specified amount of time.

Chapek and Engelby hope to make Wingstock an annual event, as well as hold other events throughout the year. One aspiration they have is to host a chili and rib cooking contest in the fall.

Wingstock 2024 will be at Geneva Bar & Grill at 101 W. Main St. in Geneva on April 27. The gates will open at 2 p.m. and the event will be held outside, weather permitting.

In partnership with Wingstock, Geneva Bar & Grill will have a drink special during the event in which guests 21 and over can purchase a “Keg Cup” for $20. It will get free refills of keg beer for the duration of the event.

Tickets are available for presale for $12 through April 19. After that date they are $20 at the door. Everyone who purchases a ticket will get to eat 10 to 12 wings. There is a $10 fee to enter the wing eating competitions, and participants will need to sign a waiver of liability.

There are limited places available for people to enter the wing cooking competition. According to the event’s rules, “[Wingstock 2024] is for fun and it is not sanctioned or affiliated with any professional organizations or entities. No professional circuit barbecue competitors are allowed to compete.”

The entry fee is $40 and covers the chicken wings. Participants must bring their own supplies.

To purchase tickets, enter the competition or for more information, contact Engelby by phone at 507-391-0110, by email at or by messaging the Smokin’ Barrel Barbecue Facebook page. A list of rules for cooks can be found at

10,000 Custom Designs is sponsoring the event by donating the trophies. They will also be on site during the event to offer merchandise. Jason and Jenn Schreiber will be customizing T-shirts and other memorabilia for the public to purchase. Geneva Lumber Co. is sponsoring Wingstock 2024 with the use of their equipment for event setup.