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Rudolph McCollum spent thirty-two years as a schoolteacher in Fayette, Alabama. Upon retiring, Rudolph had a chance encounter with a businessman in Winfield, who was interested in opening a barbecue restaurant. All he needed was someone to make the barbecue. Growing up, Rudolph learned to barbecue from an uncle. He found he had a knack for it. So he went into business with his sister and his girlfriend and opened The Sparerib in 1997. Their first storefront was part of the local skating rink. After a few months, though, Rudolph was ready for a new—and better—location. He found a place on Highway 78, built a smokehouse, and got to work. Today, Rudolph and his sister, Mary Spears, operate the place. He does the meat; she does the sides. They’re only open on weekends, but that just keeps their customers hungry for more.