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Pahrump chows down at 10th Annual Chili Cook Off -PHOTOS

Updated April 1, 2023 - 6:23 am

The International Chili Society and Silver State Chili Cook-Off returned to Petrack Park this past weekend, bringing chili aficionados from all over the country for two days of delicious competition.

Taking place Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26, the 2023 chili cook-off marked the tenth anniversary of the event, which was started by local resident Ron Frazier. Although Frazier passed away in December 2022, his memory lives on in the various causes in which he was a part and the chili cook-off is just one of the legacies he left behind.

Stepping up to chair the chili cook-off planning committee two years ago was local businesswoman Kelli Sater, owner and operator of The Lady -World Famous Watering Hole, formerly known as The Bearded Lady Saloon. With the help of a group of enthusiastic fellow committee members, Sater has been able to not only ensure the continuation of the chili cook-off, she has also brought in a few new elements aimed toward attracting an even more diverse crowd to the event.

Additions such as the mechanical bull, potato sack race, mohawk and mullet competition, tug o’ war, hotdog-eating and watermelon-eating contests had patrons both young and old showing off their various skills, while the beer chug gave adults the chance to pit their drinking abilities against one another, all in the name of a good cause.

Live and DJ-ed music kept the atmosphere lively, with DJ Soundz, Lynyrd Skynyrd and southern rock tribute band Sweet Home Alabama and 90s, 2000s and alternative rock group Special Agent Utah all rocking out on the stage throughout the weekend.

As always, chili cook-off attendees were able to taste some of the best chili the country has to offer, with tickets for tastings offered at 10 for $12. The aromas drifting through the park had lines continually forming in front of each of the competing booths, with many remarks of delight as people finally got to take a bite.

“This year’s chili cook-off had a bigger turnout than last year, I would say almost double the spectators and the cooks were out of chili by 2 p.m. when the event normally goes until 4 p.m.!” an obviously satisfied Sater told the Pahrump Valley Times. “I was so heartbroken when I heard the news of Ron’s passing, he was such a kind and giving person who wanted nothing but the best for everyone. I wish so bad that he could have been here this year to the event and how much it has grown in a short amount of time… I know he would have been proud.”

Sater provided a list of the first-place winners for each of the various competition categories.

On Saturday, March 25, for Traditional Red Chili, John Jepson won while Mark Haught took first for Homestyle Chili. The winner for Chili Verde was Janine Spracklen, Jim Watson was judged to have had the best entry in the Salsa category and Ian Whitney swept the day in the Youth category.

On Sunday, March 26, Kris Fulton won for Homestyle and tied with Mark Parker for Salsa. Dora Jepson won for Traditional Red Chili and Clark McGee won for Chili Verde.

Outside of the regular judging, cook-off attendees were able to play the judge as well, with score cards handed out so people could record their thoughts on the taste, texture and consistency of each competitor’s offering. Taking home the People’s Choice award this year was Steve Barnes.

As detailed by information regarding the event, the proceeds brought in by the various patron competitions, which cost $10 each to enter, are to benefit St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. Money raised through the chili cook-off itself is set to go to Pahrump Valley Youth Activities, which is a local program that offers area children a positive place to spend their summertime hours.

At this time, Sater said the total raised has not quite been calculated but those results will be available in a couple of weeks’ time.

Sater sent a shout-out of thanks to the sponsors of the 10th Annual Silver State Chili Cook-Off, including The Original Deer Mullet, Mr. Tire of Pahrump, Better Bins, The Butterfly Effect, Redmond Fencing, The Lady – World Famous Watering Hole, Awards Plus, Pahrump Life Magazine, Cutting Edge Designs, Fresh Binz, Joe’s Sanitation, Classic Realty Group – Sheryl Hunter Team, the Pahrump Gunfighters and KPVM-TV.

“A special thanks to PVYA, Kiwanis, Kanaka Hekili MC and the Pahrump Arts Council, for sending us volunteers to help with the event,” Sater added. “Thank you to the judges, scorekeepers and cooks! Without them, none of this would be possible. And a big shout-out to Courtney and Jimmy from the town of Pahrump, they helped out so much this year to make sure we had all our ducks in a row with permits, applications and helping set up the park with everything we needed.”

For more information on the International Chili Society and its various cook-offs visit ChiliCookOff.com

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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