Great things can be achieved with time, skill, and passionate commitment. For Pete Chapman, five years has been enough time, welding is the skill, and serving great food is the commitment. And this Labor Day, those three qualities were recognized when the business he built with his own hands “Smokin’ Pete’s Barbecue” won first place in the food truck competition at the New York State Fair.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force and attending a welding school in Rochester, Pete began with a home built smoker in 2012, and by cooking for friends at parties, then catering events and festivals, he grew his business into a fully outfitted food truck in 2014. Specializing in authentic American style barbecue, it was his signature loaded tater-tots that garnered the public and official praise at the fair. Working side-by-side with his fiancée, Maeve Beecher, daughter of longtime Penn Yan Diner owner Lyman Beecher, the couple have brought an excellent work ethic and a delight in serving quality food to the public as key elements in their enterprise. They served over 1,200 sample portions of their signature dish in that day at the fair. When the judges came with the trophy, Pete screamed and kissed Maeve in his excitement. This was proof his first win in his first year at the fair in 2015 was much more than beginners luck. “We’re two for two!” he says grinning with justifiable satisfaction. The no-secret secret is Pete’s smoked pulled pork or beef brisket topped with his own barbecue sauces.

This year, Pete’s was at Climbing Bines Brewery in Torrey every Thursday through Sunday as his first semi-permanent location. Now with the truck and another trailer, Pete is looking for other locations in Yates County to set up on a regular seasonal schedule. In addition to the prize-winning “loaded tots,” there are a range of other barbecue options wherever Smokin’ Pete’s rolls up. His all hickory wood fired Texas style barbecue smoker can handle 600 lbs. of pork shoulder at a time or 40 beef briskets, and he is looking for an appropriate spot where all that savory smoke aroma would be welcome.

Other Champions

Beef cattle

In the 49th consecutive year that the Kriese family has shown cattle at the State Fair John & Anita brought home the Reserve Grand Champion for cow & calf.

“In the group classes, we really gained momentum,” syas John. They won distinguished honors of placing 1st in the “Best Four Head” class, and 1st in the New York Special. “This class recognizes the best two head which are bred and owned by a New York exhibitor, he adds. “We have always believed that the group classes are most meaningful, as the group must exhibit the same phenotypic characteristics and breed qualities.”

The Kriese’s Spring Pond Farm was also once again presented with the 2019 Hereford Division Herdsmanship Award. 

Arts & Crafts

Needlepoint artist Bob Manchester, 73, now of Greece, won both the Arts & Crafts Division Championship and the Director’s Award, presented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo himself.

A disabled Vietnam War Veteran, Manchester was inspired to take up needlework by the former New York Giants football defensive tackle Rosey Grier, as a means of relaxation. 

The Wolf, composed in counted cross stitch and professionally framed in maple by Bill Kranz of Frames Galore on Main Street, represents two years of work by Manchester.