Secrets of Fest’s success

The staff, who is working hard at the stand for Woody’s Restaurant, reveals a secret about the competition, but not much about a new secret sauce.
“We created one sauce just for Wing Fest,” said Cody Counts, an employee of Woody’s Restaurant and in charge of the stand at the 10th annual Wapakoneta Wing Fest. “We sell five at the restaurant and we developed a sixth flavor for the competition.”
Counts would not reveal the special secret ingredients, just that restaurant owner Dan Stinebaugh and his brother, Bruce Stinebaugh, developed the new flavor.
Counts joked that a few chemists from Ohio Northern University helped in developing the flavor for the special sauce.
Another employee points out their green shirts match the tablecloths used, proclaiming they are the best coordinated booth and having the most fun — examples, Count said, of the friendly and fun competition between the groups.
Kris Ewald, who helps organize Wapakoneta Wing Fest, said the chicken wing competition played right into the fact they wanted in an “end of summer, beginning of fall festival” to help raise funds for local veterans. He noted the group raises $8,000, with money spent on a list of items that the Lima veterans clinic needs. The entire proceeds are spent on the needs of the clinic and the veterans.
“I felt like we pull people from the community and throughout the state so we really always wanted to make it more a regional event,” Ewald said. “I could not be happier with the people, locally, who continue to support us — whether it is the Knights of Columbus, or Woody’s, or Meyer’s Tavern or Dave’s BBQ from St. Marys.
“Having people travel from Putnam County, with Millie’s, is a feather in our cap, and Buckeye’s Boys BBQ from Delaware and Mother’s Cluckers, coming down from Bellevue has the farthest to travel,” he said. “I think it is a pretty impressive array of food talent that we have here. I couldn’t be happier with it.”
At the Meyer’s Tavern’s tent, they continue to make their wings and serve their customers with a smile. Laughs from the tent can be heard over the Ohio State Buckeye-Colorado Buffalo game and music under a tent.
Bobby Meyer teases one employee noting they would have “perfect attendance” at the Wing Fest if they did not have to attend her wedding a couple years ago.
On a more serious note, Meyer said he loves coming to the event.
“This is always a lot of fun, we really like all the people who come out here and it is for a good cause,” Meyer told the Wapakoneta Daily News.
Meyer revealed he brought three wing sauces to the competition. He now has nine flavors available at Meyer’s Tavern in Botkins.
He, too, won’t reveal the secret ingredients in the sauces he developed — the first sauce he created approximately 20 years ago.
“I made and ate 100 wings one day and kept trying different sauces until I got it right,” Meyer said. “I keep the secret recipe to myself.”
He plans to come back next, and he noted he receives a lot of favorable comments on the wings.
The crew from the Wapakoneta Knights of Columbus rounds out the three Wapakoneta competitors. They brought four sauces with their bourbon sauce their choice as a patron favorite.
“We got pretty creative in developing our sauces,” Joe Altherr said. “We would try a little bit of this and try a little bit of that and these are the ones we came up with — plain, hot, barbecue and bourbon.
This is the fourth consecutive year the group has competed in the event.
“We like coming because we are local organization and we like to help where we can,” Altherr said.
“We also want to support this cause and this effort because everybody in Auglaize County supports us and the activities we do,” Mike Sullivan said.