The sights and smells of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s 53rd cookout contest filled the grand concourse of the Iowa State Fair last week as 60 contestants from all around the state competed for the title of cookout champion.

Ultimately, it was Dawnette Richards of Vinton, who was crowned champion with her sage buttered turkey. She received $200, the champion’s crown and a permanent trophy as the 2016 Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest Champion.

"It’s overwhelming," she said moments after she was crowned. "I didn’t think I’d win."

She got interested in the contest through her husband, who was the cookout contest champion in 2011 in the beef category.

Win or lose, contestants said the fun competition brings them back year after year.

"It’s so much fun," said Andy Wilson of Lee County. "A lot of competitors remember others, and everybody is so friendly."

After winning his local contest, Wilson...