Fire departments at Rockton-Roscoe Rotary's Rib Fest are ready to turn up the heat


Stateline fire departments served up delicious ribs at the first Ribfest in 2021.

Family fun is coming to Viking Lanes in South Beloit on Saturday, July 20, 2024 as fire departments from Shirland, Rockton, and Roscoe prepare to turn up the heat on their competition at the 2024 Rockton-Roscoe Rotary Rib Fest.

Try your favorite ribs, each made from special recipes by local firefighters, and take a vote to help one of the departments earn the coveted People’s Choice Award. In 2023, Rockton Fire received the most votes.

Come out to Viking Lanes, 210 Oak Grove Ave in South Beloit with action starting at 11 a.m., and running until 2 p.m., or until they run out of ribs.

Admission is $10 per person which includes rib tasting (try all the entries), sides, and a chance to cast a vote on your favorite ribs.

"This event grows to be more popular every year," Rib Fest chair Ted Rehl said. He adds, “We plan to serve at least 150 people.”

All proceeds from this event will be used to fund the Rotary scholarship fund. In the past four years a total of nearly $20,000 has been raised to give scholarships to seniors from Hononegah High School and South Beloit High School.

Last year, four local fire departments were part of the friendly rib-cooking competition, including Rockton Fire Protection District, South Beloit Fire Department, City of Beloit Fire Department, and North Park Fire Protection District. Shirland is a new addition this year. As of July 1, the South Beloit fire station is being managed by the Town of Beloit instead, with nine first responders assigned to South Beloit.

The Rockton-Roscoe Rotary Rib Fest is one of many ways the Rockton-Roscoe Rotary Club’s legacy of “Service above Self” comes into play. Rotary International's tagline is “People of Action.”

The club was chartered on June 3, 1959, with 22 members. They met on Mondays at noon at the Wagon Wheel Resort and the first president was George Wm. Franzen. Originally called the Rotary Club of Rockton, it represented Rockton, Roscoe, Shirland, and Harrison. In time the club name was changed to the Rotary Club of Northern Winnebago County and later changed to the Rotary Club of Rockton-Roscoe in November 2019.

Under the direction of current Rotary president Clint Czizek and president elect Glenn Terry, the Rotary Club's 18 members consistently remain involved in and around the communities they serve.

The Rockton-Roscoe Rotary took part in the first ever Non-Profit Night in October 2019. Since January 2020 they have served and provided breakfast for for Carpenters Place in Rockford, an outreach that continues today. They have extended help to the Rockford Rescue Mission.

The South Beloit Food Pantry has also benefited from the Rotary’s generosity, where they helped deliver food to the cars in drive-thru donations. In 2022 the club participated in the Rockford 1M Meal Packing Event. Rotary blood drives have aided in saving lives.

In July, 2020 the Roscoe Rockton Rotary club participated in the assembly of 3,125 face shields. They also donated 100 face shields each to Fair Oaks in South Beloit and Highview in the Woodlands in Rockton.

As part of an important literacy project, the Rockton-Roscoe club has purchased quality books for elementary school children. The local Rotary donated over 170 books this year which were presented to the local elementary, middle and high schools and across Illinois. 

Each year school librarians challenge the students to read each of the books but they don't always have enough copies for all of the children who are interested. So the Rotary supplements the number of books. The Rotary Club provided books to librarians in Rockton, Roscoe, Shirland and South Beloit schools as well as to North Suburban Library in Roscoe, and Talcott Free Library in Rockton.

Also in October of 2020 members worked toward goals of eradicating polio at the End Polio Now Walk, organzing a walk at Hononegah High School to raise funds for the Polio Plus Foundation (Rotary International). The walk's mission is to raise funds and to raise awareness. Only two countries in the world are not considered polio-free: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Rockton- Roscoe Rotary was the winner of a sustained literacy award at the Rotary District 6420 Conference in April 2024.

The Rotary is a strong supporter of the Winnebago County 4-H program, with sponsorship for the Grand Champion Overall Pair-Pen of Standard Chickens and the Champion Computer Generated Art.

Last year they participated in a Design the Design competition with CEANCI (Career Education Assistance of North Central Illinois), a program designed to prepare and to invest in all students for career and college through partnerships that build innovative regional opportunities.

The club collaborated with Hononegah High School's graphic arts class where a female student from HCHS created a new brochure for the Rotary.

A hybrid program allows club members to meet both in person and virtually. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of each month at Sophia's Restaurant in Roscoe, with social events coming to life each quarter.

Future goals include a hopeful introduction of an “Interact Club” to be incorporated in one of local schools. The Interact Club is Rotary for ages 12-18. It is a service club that will have a minimum of two events in the fiscal year; one that impacts the school and one that either has an impact or a focus in the community.

Future goals include a hopeful introduction of an “Interact Club” to be incorporated in one of local schools. The Interact Club is Rotary for ages 12-18. It is a service club that will have a minimum of two events in the fiscal year, one for the school and one for the community. The Rotary is also going to be a sponsor for an inbound exchange student from another country.

To contact the Rockton -Roscoe Rotary Club, you can go to their website at /, or e-mail a club member. Other options are to go through the Rotary International's website or the club's Facebook page.

Volunteers continue making a difference through the Rotary Club. Support from events such as Ribfest help them achieve goals of reaching out to others.

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