MANSON - Among the many contests, events, parade and other celebrations at the annual Manson Greater Crater Days is a contest to see how much of a cheese pizza can be eaten in three minutes.
This year's winner, Andrew Kaufmann, 12, of Waukee, managed a full three slices with no leftover crust.
He missed the contest last year so this was his chance to show how it's done.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Wendy Wooldridge shares a shaved ice treat with her son Dane, 4, and daughter Reagan, 6, during the annual Manson Greater Crater Days Saturday.
There is a secret to success.
"Just stuff it in," he said. "That's all I did."
He does recommend water to go with his favorite food rather than a carbonated soda.
"It cools down your mouth," he said.
After the rapid consumption of nearly half a pizza, Kaufmann planned to finish the rest - a bit slower perhaps.
"I'm starving," he said.
The Rib Fest at Greater Crater Days is now in it's fourth year. Each group is given the afternoon to cook ribs which are then judged on flavor, texture, eye appeal and ribby goodness.
Ryan Friesth, of Fort Dodge, had a rather unique cooker. It's made from an old refrigerator.
"It just seemed like something to make a cooker out of," he said.
He had to remove all the plastic and fill any holes found with sheet metal.
"There's a charcoal pan on the bottom and a water pan above," he said.
The secret to great ribs, he said is in three things, the meat rub and the sauce, they have to work together in unison.
The cooking is also critical.
"Low and slow," he said.
The long cooking process has another advantage. Some of the things added to the fire - such as fruit wood - enhance the flavor.
"We're trying to drive the smoke into the meat," he said.
For those who don't want to wait, Cornell Lowery, owner of the Barbecue Thief, had plenty of slow-cooked ready-to-eat food at his stand. One of those items, a Texas-cut Iowa chop, tips the scale at almost 2 pounds and is served on a stick.
They are popular.
"I have guys eat three or four a day," he said.
Wendy Wooldridge, of Manson, spent the day strolling among the cooking teams, watching the parade and making sure her children Dane, 4, and Raegan, 6 kept cool.
A giant shaved ice cone took care of that - along with eating it in the shade.
She said she enjoys seeing all the visitors to her community and the involvement of her neighbors.
She also doesn't mind the question on many people's minds.
"Where exactly is the crater?"
"People ask all the time," she said.
"You're standing on it."