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Barrie mom wins inaugural ribfest title

Morgan Ian Adams, QMI AGENCY

THORNBURY - A Barrie mom of three who turned a hobby into a profession was crowned queen of the 'Q' at the inaugural Blue Mountains Chili Ribfest, Saturday.

Danielle Dimovski - who barbecues under the title of Diva Q - turned in a perfect score for her brisket on the way to earning the grand champion title, along with an entry to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue later this fall.

"I have not slept in the last two days, overanalyzing this contest," said Dimovski as she leaned on the three-foot-tall grand champion trophy. "The brisket has been the bane of my existence for the entire year."

Along with the top title in the brisket division, Dimovski also won the pork category, and was third in pork rib, out of 21 teams that turned out for the inaugural event held at the Cedar Run Horse Park.

Black Pig, a championship team out of London headed up by Mike Callaghan, was awarded the reserve champion title; Callaghan's brisket was second to Dimovski, while he also picked up second place honours in the chicken category.

Dimovski, a former human resources professional who now teaches others how to barbecue out of warehouse space provided by Traegar, said her team "focused on the basics and I'm pleased with what I turned in.

"We were uber-focused on what needed to be done, and focused on putting out the best barbecue we could."

Her 'team' includes her husband Vlado, and her eldest daughter Lexi, who keeps an eye on the couple's two youngest, Gabe and Ella, while the parents can pay attention to the grills.

Dimovski competed at the Jack Daniels event three years ago, and placed 38th out of 79 teams.

"Now it's time to show what we can do," she said.

Dimovski got into barbecuing about five years ago after judging a competition.

"I was just astounded by how good it was," she told QMI earlier in the day, as sheput her feet up following nearly a straight day of prepping and barbecuing. "The food was so exceptional that it propelled me to buy a 'smoker-thingy'.

"I didn't even know what it was called," she said with a laugh.

Callaghan - who picked up third place honours for his ribs at the Jack Daniels event last fall - joked that barbecuing is an obsession for many of the teams that travel the circuit. Callaghan thinks nothing of travelling 14-to-16 hours to get to a competition, hitting competitions throughout the States and Canada.

"I started out making sausages and curing meat, and a friend said a should try competing," said Callaghan, whose 'day job' is as a bankruptcy analyst for the federal government. "You just get into it and get hooked, and it's enjoyable."

On the chili side, the annual event organized by the Thornbury Rotary Club, the Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce team - the 'Chambermades' - took open the titles for the open division and Texas division; the latter earned the team an entry to the Terlingua International Chili Competition in Texas.

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