Great North Routt Chili Cook Off fills bellies | SteamboatToday.com

Great North Routt Chili Cook Off fills bellies

People taste a variety of chilis, soups and deserts during the Great North Routt Chili Cook Off on Saturday at Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse.

The community did not disappoint during the 14th Annual Great North Routt Chili Cook Off on Saturday at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse.

The event raised thousands of dollars for the Fourth of July fireworks show, set for July 1 at Steamboat Lake, and the North Routt Preschool.

"Really great turnout this year," preschool director Kerri Ann Crocker said.

This was the sixth year the cook off has been held at the roadhouse.

"This is a great event," roadhouse owner Carol Zamzow said. "I'm psyched we could be apart of it. It allows everyone to say, ‘Hello’ before the crazy summer season starts."

With recent snow, winter was not over yet, but residents gathered to discuss how they weathered the season.

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Rancher Bill Fetcher had just checked on his seven bee hives.

"They all made it through the winter," Fetcher said.

Much of the talk was centered around the varieties of chili, with names such as Lulu Elk Chorizo Miner's Chili and Big "O" Chili, which Zamzow made with organic, grass-fed beef from the Meyring family ranch.

Vista Verde Ranch chef Chol McGlynn prepared a green chili with braised chicken, celery, onion, carrots and poblano peppers.

"Sauteed it all in bacon fat," McGlynn said. "I had a lot of bacon fat on hand."

Chili chefs were competing to have their names inscribed on trophies.

"That's exciting, when you can get the first-place trophy," Zamzow said.

Dan Bubenheim took first place in the red chili, which was made with wild game.

Bubenheim also took first place for his bread pudding with Richie's raspberry puree, named after longtime Routt County resident Richard Imperato, who died in April.

Imperato was known for having the best raspberry patch in the county.

"This was his favorite dessert that I always made," Bubenheim said.

Jeff Fegelein took top honors for his Always the Bridesmaid Green Chili, which had taken second place the two previous years.

Crocker won in the "other" category for her chicken tortilla soup.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland