By McKenna MIDDLETON, intern
Light on the Corner Church (LOCC) in Montrose held its 10th annual chili cook-off on Oct 5. Over 20 self- proclaimed chili connoisseurs entered their recipes for a chance to win.
The festivities began at 6 p.m. when Montrose community members of all ages wandered the LOCC parking lot, tasting all the chili entries. Each entry was unique and included everything from vegetarian chili to pastrami chili – there was something to satisfy every palate. Some chili recipes took days to make. Some were hot, some were not, but all were delicious. Many of the chefs were repeaters who had entered – and won – in prior years. Some even brought their trophies from past cook-offs to show off at this year’s event.
“It’s very competitive,” event coordinator Lelani Karn confirmed.
There were several prizes that were awarded. The People’s Choice recognized first, second and third place winners. The People’s Choice Award first place winner was Kick a Chili, second place went to Aaron’s Pastrami Chili and third place was awarded to Montrose Madness.
The most prestigious and sought-after were the Firefighters Choice Awards. Firemen from nearby Station 29 attended the cook-off to vote for their top three favorite recipes. The firemen also chose the “Hottest Non-lethal” award winner for the spiciest chili.
“The firefighters know what they’re doing, and they know heat. They are the professionals. They have superior taste buds,” LOCC pastor Jon Karn jokingly said to the crowd when members of Station 29 arrived.
The hottest non-lethal winner was the Ring of Fire chili recipe. First place in the Firefighters Choice Award was Montrose Madness, followed by Martha’s Santa Fe Chili and then Ring of Fire.
Pastor Karn said that in the history of the church’s chili competition there had never been a double winner, let alone two.
Aside from the competitive aspect of the event, the chili cook-off was a time to celebrate the arrival of fall and local community.
For entertainment, Mark and the Red Hots band set a casual and fun mood for the evening. Free hot dogs and water were offered to attendees. A youth bake sale provided dessert to complement the chili consumed during the evening. Adding to the festivities, Pastor Karn and his daughter performed a duet. The evening finished with a gift card raffle where anyone could be a winner.
The LOCC Chili Cook-off winners are expected to return for the 11th annual cook-off next October. Those who left without a trophy this year will no doubt spend the next 12 months perfecting their recipes for a chance to take one home next year.