NV Rib-Cook has 120 tons of meat, 500K people

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SPARKS, Nev. (AP) -- The smoky, sweet barbeque aroma wafting across U.S. Interstate 80 in northern Nevada this week is the smell of money for Reno and Sparks hotels and casinos trying to rebound from the lingering sour economy.

With two dozen of the best rib cookers in the country and more than 120 tons of meat, the 24th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off that kicked off Wednesday is expected to attract nearly a half million visitors to the area through Labor Day.

About 500,000 people helped pump nearly $25 million into the local economy last year and local businesses are optimistic this year's event will be as good or better.

This year's competitors hail from Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, California and Nevada.