When it is cold and snowy outside, there’s nothing more delicious than a steaming bowl of homemade chili and hot buttery cornbread.
To end the chilly month of February, the Third Annual Community Chili Cook-off amongst local churches was held at Craig Valley Baptist Church on February 27.
When people entered the doors, the mouthwatering aroma made their stomachs growl and immediately arose their senses.
There were six combined contestants from three churches that participated from Craig Valley Baptist, First Baptist and Cornerstone-New Castle. They were: Ken Looney, Karen Walker, Frank Maddox, Anita Martindell, Mike Rivers and Barb Winslow.
Approximately 25 people came to test and judge every chili entry. All agreed that each option was delicious. In fact, they were so good, that for the first time, there was a three-way tie for second place.
When that happened, everyone was given another ticket and asked to judge between the three.
It seemed the consensus of the evening was that it was too difficult to judge, as they were all worthy of the top honor.
Ultimately, Ken Looney from Craig Valley Baptist, who currently holds the first-place title from last year’s contest, was announced as the first-place winner again. He accepted the trophy with a big grin.
Second place went to Karen Walker of Craig Valley Baptist and third was Frank Maddox of Cornerstone Church in New Castle.
Since this was Ken Looney’s second win in a row, the championship trophy will remain at Craig Valley Baptist Church for another year.
“This was a year of especially good chili,” Rich Martindell said. “There was actually a tie for second-place between three chilis and a second cook-off had to be held. The final difference between second and third-place ended up being just one vote.”
Martindell noted that there was great participation by the various churches’ members providing a large variety of cornbreads and desserts which everyone enjoyed after the contest was over.
“This is a great example of why many people come to small towns,” Martindell added. “Through events like this, everyone gets to know their neighbors better and sees that we all have a lot in common, wherever we may worship.”
Though it was a competition, everyone laughed and greeted the winners with a little fun on the side, talking of how much better they would be next year and how they would adjust their ingredients.
“There is a true feeling of camaraderie through competition, lighthearted humor and of course, delicious food,” Martindell said before others chimed in, “It’s a competition where you’re happy for whoever wins.”