Chili cook-off raises $2,700 for Routt County schools |

Chili cook-off raises $2,700 for Routt County schools

— Before hungry crowds packed Hahn's Peak Roadhouse on Sunday afternoon to taste an assortment of 32 chilis, desserts and other homemade recipes, Travis Bedell had to make sure the building had enough electricity to keep all of the food warm.

"You just don't walk into this place and have it all happen. There's a science to it," the Clark resident said as he explained how all of the crockpots full of steaming hot chili sucked up about 70 amps worth of energy. Three generators hummed outside to keep the chili hot.

"We've had breakers get blown out in the past, and then I get yelled at because the food gets cold," Bedell joked.

But no such yelling or cold chili surfaced during the 10th annual Great North Routt Chili Cook-Off. The event drew about 180 people to the Roadhouse just north of Clark who were eager to eat, drink and support area schools.

A $10 entry fee raised about $2,700 for the North Routt Community Charter School and the neighboring North Routt Preschool. Attendees also donated $455 to a separate challenge fund to support the preschool. Preschool director Kerri Ann Crocker said North Routt community members have pledged to match as much as $9,500 in donations to the school during an ongoing fundraiser.

"We're very grateful for the support," Crocker said. "If we're able to match those funds (and raise $19,000), we'll be able to absolve a lot of our debt."

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The North Routt Preschool last year was forced to close its doors for a week because of mounting debt. It reopened a week later under the leadership of Crocker and since has been working past the financial trouble.

"I know all of the money we raised today will go to good use," event organizer Erick Knaus said. "Schools across the country are struggling financially, and every little bit helps."

While the event served as a fundraiser for the schools, it also was a form of entertainment.

The Dark Eyed Juncos serenaded chili-eaters with blues songs and rhythm as children played in sandboxes outside the Roadhouse.

"Good chili. Good food. Good desserts," Steamboat resident Darcie Hills said as she ate chili and drank Corona outside with friends. Hills was part of a larger group of motorcycle riders who made a second annual ride from Craig to the event.

Attendees also had a chance to weigh in on the dishes they tasted.

Becky Heid started preparing for the cook-off Saturday by getting all of the fixings for what she calls Sand Mountain Posole. The pot contained pork and red and green chilis, and it earned a second place ribbon in the "other" category.

"I always cook more and more every year because this event grows and grows," Heid said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

Cook-off results

Red chili

1st: Tim McGill (Tom Thumb Red Chili)

2nd: place red chili: Todd Raper (80s Chili)

3rd: Chris Leftwich (Mainstreet Red)

3rd: Dan Bubenheim (Elk Brisket Chili)

Green chili

1st: Diane Towns (Di’s Dynamite)

2nd: Erick Knaus (Ghost Green)

3rd: Lisa Larkin (Gonzo’s Green Chili)


1st: Dan Bubenheim (White Chocolate Bread Pudding)

2nd: Lori Raper (Bananalicious)

3rd: McKinley Mulbauer (Howling Wolf Brownies)


1st: Aden Knaus (Swedish Meatballs)

2nd: Becky Heid (Sand Mountain Posole)

3rd: Stephanie Mulbauer (Wapiti Minestrone)

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