COOK-OFF: Chili contest supports Rotary, Pioneer Museum

Published 8:33 pm Monday, November 25, 2019

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The Backfire Chili Company has been declared the winner of the “Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off” held Saturday at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

The team of Kenny Campbell, Stephanie Baker and Newton Campbell will have braggin’ rights until the Troy Rotary Club and the Pioneer Museum of Alabama team up again to host a fundraiser to benefit both organizations.

“Better than Wendy’s” chili took second place in the “Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off”. Word of mouth was that Jason Browder and Logan East were only a few chili beans out of first place.

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Scott Saunders, Billy Jefcoat and Frank Scarbrough were “Making Chili Great Again” and chili connoisseurs came back again and again to dine on their great chili. The team took third place honors in the chili competition.

Fourth place went to the “CE&F Chili Company.” Charles Windham, Emory Ellis and Forrest Lee were the chili chefs with the look of professionals and the chili to match.

The People’s Choice Award was awarded to Southern Grill and Patio of Jennifer Cartier and Bill Cartier as the chili creators. They, too, can brag a bunch. 

“The Angry Elf Chili Company” captured the Best Team Spirit Award. Although there was nothing “angry” about the company, except the chili’s firepower, Angie Horn Stainaker, Michael Bunn, Luke Bunn and Jonathon Bunn did show spirit.

Barbara Tatom, Pioneer Museum of Alabama director, said the chili cook-off was a first-time success even though Mother Nature did shower through.

“We planned as best we could for the rain and, even with the rain, the chili cook-off went really well,” Tatom said. “Everyone was in good spirits and everyone who came had a good time. What was so exciting and so encouraging was the large number of cars with 55 tags in the parking lot. It’s great to have people from all across the country visit the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and it’s equally exciting to have home folks here.”

Tatom said the museum’s board of directors will meet this week and discuss what about the chili cook-off worked and what might be done differently.

“I want to thank those from the Troy Rotary Club and the museum who worked to make this first-time event a success and the cook teams who volunteered their talents and the time in support of the Troy Rotary Club and the Pioneer Museum of Alabama. I also want to thank Moe Odom and his band for the great music and all those who came in support of the museum and the Rotary Club. And, of course, the judges who surely had a very difficult time. With all of us working together, the chili cook-off was a success. And, I don’t think it was a one-time event.”

Jeff Kervin, museum board chair, said the chili cook-off has the potential to be an annual event.

“We had a successful first-time event,” Kervin said. “Working together, we divided the labor and the museum has a great space for a chili cook-off. If it had not rained, we would have had more people come out. But we raised money for two good causes. We all had fun and next time will be even bigger and better.”

The funds raised will support the Troy Rotary Club’s efforts to construct a gazebo at the Children’s Miracle Field at the Troy Recreation Park and an ADA restroom at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.