Chimney Fund Chili Cook-off has best year ever
The winning team consisted of two college friends who took time from their preparations for a nine month road trip to Panama to prepare two gallons of chili. They called it “No Hassle, No Fuss Bus Chili.” Ryan Lee of Clear Creek and Danny Wiborg of Tacoma, Washington arrived at the cook-off in the school bus they have been converting to living quarters for their post-college graduation journey. They took turns giving bus tours and serving chili.
Another team of cooks new to the chili cook-off was awarded second place by the judges and also won the “People’s Choice” award. Tim and Dave Bustamante cooked Grandma’s Green Zone chili named in honor of the recipe donor, Stella Bustamante, and Tim’s landscaping business.
The third place award went to Bucky’s Chili. Cooks Tifini Powers and Brian Wilson said they had made their chili just a little bit milder this year to try to get back in the winner’s circle. They took second place in 2006.
The chili judges do a blind tasting to make the selection completely impartial. In addition to the judge’s picks, everyone who purchases a chili kit for tasting has a popular vote ticket to cast for the People’s Choice award.
An additional set of judges select the best booth. Buck Snort I and II won this award for the second year in a row.
Salsa tasting has become a part of the chili cook-off in recent years and this year’s winner was RJ’s Landscaping. The salsa recipe belonged to Liza Rydberg.
Handzel said the cook-off had eight new teams participating, a record number. Several businesses sent teams for the first time. Lassen Beverage in Susanville sent Charlie Cleland and Vicki Flux as “Team Bud Chili for Champions;” Kim Wood and Beverly Meyer were the “Sierra Sineritas” sponsored by Sierra Super Stop; Dawn and George Rocha cooked for RJ’s Landscaping; and Cal & Tracy Thurber made “Tex Mex and White Bread” chili at a booth sponsored by CST Construction.
Rick Higby and John Battiest, friends from Clear Creek, teamed up to cook Checker Flag Chili and another set of friends, Johnna Bigelow and Ariel Scoppwer dubbed themselves “Hot Mamas” and cooked in camouflage in keeping with their love of hunting. Pirate dubloons and skeletons were among the decorative items Jamie Welch and Nils Lunder used to decorate their booth from which they served “Dead Man’s Chili.”
Many teams return year after year and once again participated in the fundraiser. Allan Smith cooks Buck Snort I chili and Jim Haynes Buck Snort II, the Westwood/Lake Almanor Rotary is represented by Connie Medici and Sheila Oxford, Lana Beal and Shelley Tilford are sponsored by Biggs Butchery as the Chili Chicks. Quincy residents Joyce and Jerri Adams served J&J’s Special K Chili for the ninth year. A team from Plumas Bank cooked and teams from T&A Lounge in Susanville and Mt. Lassen Club in Chester were also in attendance.
Many contestants have a not so secret ingredient. Scott and Delores Satterlee, of Quincy, make Catfish Chili, Westwood residents Connie and Darren Arms use a little liquid smoke in their Smoky Mountain Chili and a bottle of Jack Daniels at the chili booth sponsored by Cordoza Electric signifies the ingredient Holly Cordoza and her team use to season their chili. Turkey was used to make chili cooked by Tim Wilson and Linda Ketchum of Sparks, Nev. heart healthy.
Sales from the chili tasting kits totaled $2,035. While chili is the main attraction there are several other fundraising components included in the event. The 50/50 raffle raised $2,240, therefore the winning raffle ticket, which belonged to Tom Jones, was worth $1,120. He donated $100 to The Chimney Fund from his winnings.
The jail is another moneymaker. Friends and colleagues who have each other arrested must make bail in order to get out. Those arrested receive a mug shot.
Handzel said a donation is made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital from the money collected. In addition, the Westwood Girl Scouts and Westwood Junior High Volleyball team receive a donation. This year the volleyball team had a face painting table to entertain children. Also, the Westwood Family Resource Center brought its bounce house for children. The money raised from the bounce house went to JackPAC, the after school program at Fletcher Walker Elementary.
The Westwood State Preschool keeps half of all the money from raffle tickets staff sells. This year they made $428.
Chili Cook-off teams from Quincy, Chester, Lake Almanor, Reno, Susanville and Westwood helped to make the 2008 fund-raiser for The Chimney Fund and other organizations a big success.
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