22nd annual Chimney Fund Chili Cook-off continues to draw crowds
|Lana Beal prepares a pot of chili Saturday, Sept. 14, during the 22nd Annual Chimney Fund Chili Cook-off. Beal and her teammate, Ken Sawyer, received the Popular Choice trophy and a trophy for best-decorated booth.||Chris Graham accepts the third-place trophy from Mary Gow, president of The Chimney Fund, accompanied by his teammate, Brittany Baehler.|
|Michele Vargas accepts the first-place trophy for the “Backwoods Chili” she made with Henry Bronson. She is accompanied by her daughter, Morgan. Also pictured is Mary Gow, president of The Chimney Fund.||Tifini and Josh Powers receive the second-place trophy from Mary Gow, president of The Chimney Fund, during the chili cook-off Saturday, Sept. 14. Photos by Candi Garrett|
Sept. 23, 2013 — The 22nd annual chili cook-off held in Westwood to raise funds for The Chimney Fund brought in $3,500 this year. According to Mary Gow, president of the nonprofit organization, the event continues to be the biggest fundraiser for the charity.
Fifteen teams prepared three-gallon pots of chili to serve those attending the cook-off Saturday, Sept. 14 on the grounds of The Double G Ironhorse Saloon on Ash Street. In addition, 13 people entered the salsa competition, which was a record number. At the end of the day the three teams that walked away with the trophies were Michele Vargas and Henry Bronson, who received first place for their “Backwoods Chili;” Tifini and Josh Powers in second place for “Powers Perfected Chili;” and Chris Graham and the Merchants of Westwood in third place for WACC (Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce) Chili. The winners were selected by judges in a blind tasting.
People who purchased the tasting kits voted for their favorite chili and the Popular Choice trophy was awarded to Lana Beal and Ken Sawyer for “Len & the Tex-n’s Chili.” This team also won best-decorated booth.
In the salsa competition Michele Vargas received first place from the judges and Dusty Vargas won Popular Choice.
As usual the 22nd annual Chimney Fund Chili Cook-off had a variety of activities for a well-rounded day of entertainment. The “DJ Outlaw,” Tim Ball of Quincy, provided music. A bounce house was set up for children and the Westwood High School varsity volleyball team did face painting. The U.S. Forest Service brought Smokey Bear for a visit.
There are many fundraisers within the main fundraiser of selling chili-tasting kits. A dunk tank was set up and people bid on the various candidates who were brave enough to be dunked by the highest bidder. Rooky Lassen County Deputy Sheriff Dustin Russell brought in $40, the highest bid of the day, which was made by The Double G Ironhorse Saloon.
The jail, where people who were “arrested” were placed until someone bailed them out, raised $350. Three young women were the jailers. They were Sierra and Morgan Fletcher and Haley Meeks.
A 50/50 raffle provided funds for the Westwood State Preschool to take its students to Wemples Pumpkin Patch this October. The winner of the raffle was Michael Jones, of Auburn.
Gow said generous donations also contributed to the success of the cook-off. All 15 chili teams gave their $20 deposit to The Chimney Fund, although it is refundable once they are onsite preparing chili. Also, D&L Distributing provided two cases of water and Superior Products donated 10 cases of mixed drinks.
Ken Larsen donated a cord of wood for a drawing in memory of Tom and Shirley Jones, a couple who helped make the cook-off an event people attend year after year.
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