After 14 years of trying, Steven Heaberlin of Warren County finally took home the top prize at the 58th annual Farm Bureau Cookout Contest at the Iowa State Fair last week.

Heaberlin is no stranger to camping out and cooking out on the Grand Concourse of the fairgrounds, having won in other categories in the past. But it was his coffee-rubbed beef plate ribs that finally did the trick, allowing Heaberlin to don the bright red crown on Aug. 16.

“After 13 or 14 years of trying, today feels really good,” Heaberlin said, a little choked up after stepping off the championship stage.

Last year, Heaberlin took second place in the beef category with tri-tips. He previously earned first-place finishes in the lamb, turkey...