The seventh annual chili cook-off drew out about 180 attendees out to Marion County Lake to sample the diverse flavors of the 17 competitors who entered the contest.
As in years past, patrons who attended the event served as taste testing judges. After purchasing admission, patrons were given a bowl, a spoon, a napkin, and a silver bean with which they used to vote for the chili they enjoyed the most.
Cool and brisk with enough of a breeze to carry any noxious fumes away, it was perfect chili weather.
A DJ played classic rock tunes and made announcements while patrons ambled around to different booths and sampled a variety of chili.
Some teams gave their chili amusing names like “Dias de los Muertos Chili” and “Thunder Struck.” The former dressed in zombie costumes and the later played the ACDC song by the same name as they served their chili. Others contestants like “Plain Jane Chili” and “Real Bob’s Chili,” were more modest with their presentation.
Another notable name was Ed Salsbery of Newton who won a $100 cash prize for eating an entire bowl of the hottest chili in the contest, the fastest without stopping.
Salsbery donated his prize money back to the lake.
“I like hot stuff,” Salsbery said. “It was hot, not the peppers, but the temperature, I burnt my tongue.”
“Rick’s Last Stop Chili” was deemed the hottest. Rick Myers said he put a cornucopia of peppers in his chili including habanero, jalapeno, cayenne, serrano, and ghost peppers.
- 1st place — Kevin Leffler with his “Thunder Struck” chili.
- 2nd place — Bob Cox with “Real Bob’s Chili”
- 3rd place — Keith and Lori Koop with “No beard Chili.”
- Cooks choice award went to Janice Deboer’s chili in a 5-way tie.