Wind Rider Mountain Festival
Wind Rider Mountain Festival
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Within the homeland of the Mescalero Apache lie four sacred mountains.  These four mountains represent the direction of everyday life for the Apache people. Tribal elders would often speak of a sacred place called Sierra Blanca. It was there that the creator gave life to the Apache Peoples. It was on Sierra Blanca, according to legend, that White Painted Woman gave birth to two sons, whom she raised to be brave and skilled. Destructive monsters roamed the earth and devastated everything in their path. When these great warriors grew up to be men, they rose up and killed the monsters of the earth. Peace and prosperity spread for all mankind. We hope that we pay homage to this sacred site with the Wind Rider Mountain Festival and continue the tradition of peace and prosperity through music and culture.

Ski Apache welcomes back the Wind Rider Mountain Festival for the third time in 2017, Memorial Day Weekend May 26-28. Where Music, Culture, BBQ and Recreation collide this 3 day camping festival boasts 25+ bands on 2 stages where the high mountain air will be filled with the sweet smell of BBQ smoke and the best of Jam, Funk, Bluegrass, Rock, Folk and more. This scenic venue sets at 9,600 feet and will also be home to The Wind Rider Mountain BBQ competition (a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned event), downhill mountain biking, zip lining, camping, craft beer, good eats, local vendors and art. Campsites are $25 and RV sites are $35 for all three nights of the festival. There will be FREE PARKING for all ticket-holders. Fire restrictions will be in effect. Children 5 and under are FREE with a paying adult.

Email to become a volunteer! We strongly recommend pre-purchase of tickets which are available on Yapsody, The Inn of the Mountain Gods Box Office and Ski Apache Ticket Sales. This epic event will take place at the base of Ski Apache sprawling across the slopes. Ski Apache is located at 1286 Ski Run Rd. Alto, NM 88312 just 30 minutes from the beautiful mountain resort town Ruidoso, NM.

Please note that the ski area will be open for normal operations on the event days including the zip line, the Gondola, the bike trail and the restaurant and bar. Only festival goers will have access to the festival grounds, the music and the BBQ contest.



Wind Rider Mountain BBQ

The Wind Rider Mountain BBQ is a sanctioned KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) Master Series where some of the best in MidWest BBQ come out and battle for the title of Grand Champion. We have a purse of $9,000 and will be paying the top 10 spots in each category, 3rd Overall, Reserve Grand Champion and Grand Champion. Where else can you go to enjoy world-class BBQ while enjoying some of the best music New Mexico has to offer.

Ski Apache will provide full festival passes for up to 4 team members. Additional team members will need to purchase a Wind Rider Mountain Festival pass.

We are officially a World Food Championship Qualifier and a Jack Daniels Invitational Qualifier!

Disclaimer: Wind Rider Mountain BBQ is located at Ski Apache which is a Ski Area situated at 9,600 feet above sea level. NM 532 (AKA Ski Run Road) is a county maintained paved road traveling 12 miles from top to bottom with year around traffic. It’s frequented daily by big rigs who supply the mountain. If you have any concerns about getting your rig to and from the mountain please contact us in advance and we will be happy to assist you. Please give Justin Huffmon a call at 575.464.3630.


Check in/Load in for all teams required by 12:00 pm

Each team will be escorted to their assigned space.

Meat inspector available to check meat and should be available all day, from the time teams start checking in.

Friday Evening –  Cooks Meeting (Time 6:00 pm)

Friday Evening Quiet Time

  • Quiet Time is 2:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.


Saturday- 1 Hour before Judging begins – Judges Meeting

  • Check in judges as they arrive on site (1 volunteer required) Judges are required to show proof of CBJ status, or sign the Judge Verification Form if unable to do
  • Welcome them at Judges Meeting
  • Introduce KCBS Contest Representatives
  • KCBS Representatives play the Judge’s CD, Table Captain’s CD, and coordinate activities in the Judging area.

Saturday 11:55 A.M.—12:05 PM

Chicken category is turned in and judging begins

Saturday 12:25 PM—12:35 PM

Pork Rib category is turned in and judging begins

Saturday 12:55 PM—1:05 PM

Pork category is turned in and judging begins

Saturday 1:25 PM—1:35 PM

Brisket category is turned in and judging begins

Saturday 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Prepare checks and trophies

Saturday 4:00 PM-Awards

  • Awards ceremony-Deliver Awards and Prize monies
  • Media attention
  • Post or hand out Results and Individual Scores

How to Reach Us


Ski Apache
1286 Ski Run Rd
Alto, NM 88312


(575) 464-3600

In the News!


We are accepting applications for the following types of vendors:

  • Booths: a 10 x 10 space will be provided. Multiple spaces may be available.
  • Mobile unit spaces: self-contained vehicles or trailers that provide their own power and water systems.
  • The Vending area is located off of chair 3 up the easy street ski run. Vendor fee will be $50 for the entire weekend. Vendors are permitted two passes for the festival per booth.