Chili tasters wait in long lines Sunday afternoon to sample the green and red chilies made by Sweetwater Grill. Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said about 1,100 taster kits were sold at this year's event, a 10 percent increase compared with last year.

Photo by Scott Franz

Chili tasters wait in long lines Sunday afternoon to sample the green and red chilies made by Sweetwater Grill. Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said about 1,100 taster kits were sold at this year's event, a 10 percent increase compared with last year.

Chili challenge draws huge Labor Day crowd in Steamboat

More than 1,000 sample chili, salsa and cornbread

Advertisement

Adobe Flash player 9 is required to view this video
Get Adobe Flash player

Chuck Wagon Chili Challenge

Some of the best chili makers in the state hit Steamboat over Labor Day weekend.

photo

Awards were handed out Sunday for the best salsa, cornbread and red and green chilies during the seventh annual Chuck Wagon Chili Challenge.

Results

People’s Choice:

1st: Sweetwater Green, Fawn Racoma and Aubree Arndt/Sweetwater Grill

2nd: Big Smokey, Adam Mackey/Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co.

Red

1st: Horizons Hoedown, Linda Foss and Horizons crew/Horizons Specialized Services

2nd: Big Smokey, Adam Mackey/Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co.

Green

1st: Sweetwater Green, Fawn Racoma and Aubree Arndt/Sweetwater Grill

2nd: CannonBolt Green, Sam Bolton and Mark Cannon/Cannon Bolt

Other

1st: Burn Your Face Off, Chris Randall/Laundry

Cornbread

1st: Regulator Cornbread, Josh Heath and Kelly Jessup-Warren/Oak Creek Fire Department

2nd: Sweetwater Cornbread, Fawn Racoma and Aubree Arndt/Sweetwater Grill

Salsa

1st: Regulator Salsa, Josh Heath and Kelly Jessup-Warren/Oak Creek Fire Department

2nd: Salsa Bautista, Omar Bautista/Cantina Mexican Grill

— The bad news quickly spread through the crowd on Eighth Street.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, vendors were running out of chili — and fast.

In just two hours, the Labor Day crowd eagerly consumed 15 gallons of Joe Maesar's red chili.

“I thought I was going to have some leftovers to serve as a special this week,” the Creekside Cafe & Grill executive chef said near the end of the 2012 Chuck Wagon Chili Challenge in downtown Steamboat Springs.

After hearing about the depleting chili supply, Routt County CattleWomen team leader Mary Kay Monger and her servers made the important decision to scale back the portions of their Rainmaker Red chili.

The move helped them and their 15 gallons of chili survive until after 2 p.m.

“We heard they were all running out, so we had to do something,” CattleWoman Karina Spitzley said as crowds lined up to taste the last portions of the chili.

In its seventh year downtown, the annual chili challenge proved to be a popular fundraiser for Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.

Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett said about 1,100 taster kits were sold at the entrances to the event that featured 20 entries of chilies, cornbreads and salsas.

It also attracted some loyal fans.

Part-time Steamboat residents Reed and Patti Grimes have made the event, which fell on their 34th wedding anniversary this year, an annual tradition.

“It's always fun,” Patti Grimes said while she waited in a line of more than 20 people to taste Sweetwater Grill's red and green chilies. “You know you're going to have to wait in a line, but that's part of the charm.”

And as tasters waited patiently in long lines to grab a modest cup of chili, the chefs recalled all the time and energy they spent filling vats with their coveted recipes.

At Horizons, chili making was a team event that started Thursday after chef Linda Foss cooked 11 pounds of pinto beans.

Her Texas-style recipe was circulated to five Horizons counselors, one volunteer and four of the nonprofit's clients who had a hand in the cooking.

“It's just good to be together,” Horizons Director Susan Mizen said.

Judges deemed Horizons' inaugural entry into the chili challenge as the best red chili of the day.

Mizen said she hopes Horizons' presence at the event brings more awareness to the group that provides support for people with developmental disabilities.

Barnett said attendance at Sunday's chili challenge was up about 10 percent compared with last year.

“The rivalries are always fun,” she said as organizers prepared to count up the vote tallies for all of the chilies.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Casey Barnett 1 year, 7 months ago

It was sad to hear that as the chili ran out this year that at least on a few people asked for refunds, and it was lost that this was a Fundraising event for Mainstreet. Mainstreet puts on events in our community like the Farmers Market (14 Weeks throughout the summer), Light Up the Night Community Tree Lighting (Friday after Thanksgiving), Sisters In Steamboat (October 12-14), Sidewalk sales (through out the year) and all of the other events in Downtown Steamboat Springs all on a very limited budget. Success of events like this helps make future events even more successful. Tracy and all the Volunteers did a great job putting on this event and it was again a great success! I was proud to help take part as a volunteer in this event again this year!

0

Deirdre Pepin 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you Mainstreet! The Chili Challenge was a great experience for all of us at Horizons. We enjoyed the benefits of cooking together and being a part of the community. For a copy of Linda Foss’s winning red chili recipe, visit our Facebook page, “Friends of Horizons.”

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.