This Saturday is National Day of the American Cowboy, so “giddy up, dogie!” and all that good stuff. The Stockyards, of course, are home to authentic working cowboys, not the perfumed, panty-waisted posers of Hollywood’s golden age of western cinema. (Fun fact – John Wayne was scared of horses.) There will be plenty of events in the Stockyards to mark National Cowboy Day, but none so utterly “on-the-range” as Riscky’s Barbecue Rib-Eating Contest, which takes place 2:30 Sat July 26 in the legendary Fort Worth restaurant and caterer’s early location (140 E Exchange Ave). It’s free and open to the public. Twenty pre-selected competitors will consume as many ribs as inhumanly possible for 20 minutes, and the top two finalists will face off for a $500 cash prize.

Frankly, those July Fourth hot dog-eating horror shows make me want to hurl, and they disturb me. The fear of watching someone choke to death hovers like a big buzzkill vulture over the event. But the logistics of rib eating en masse are more complicated, and more interesting. It seems like all that gnawing would act as a (partial) deterrent to choking on a too-large chunk of meat. And come to think of it, exactly how clean does the rib bone have to be before judges will mark it as “completely consumed” and include it in the competitor’s final tally? I wonder if, in Riscky’s rib-eating contests past, a winner was declared and celebrated –– until the second place finalist shouted “Wait a minute, ya’ll!” and pulled out a bone from the victor’s barrel that was only three-quarters gnawed clean. The last-minute plot twists! The suspense of old scores between champion eaters settled and then rescored! Come check it out for yourself.