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Chili Cook-off in Pahrump set to scintilate taste buds

It’s that time of year again when chili aficionados are preparing to bring their “A” game in the hopes of scoring top prizes at the International Chili Society’s seventh annual Silver State Chili Cook-off and residents and tourists will not want to miss out.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17 at Petrack Park, the Silver State Chili Cook-off will feature a contest between expert chili makers and another for amateurs, as well as vendors, a car show and live music to entertain the thousands that are expected to make their way to the event this year.

Competitors will vie with each other in a wide variety of categories, including red, verde and homestyle chili, along with a new category this year, vegetarian chili. In addition, youngsters will have an opportunity to show off their cooking acumen as well in the youth division, which includes red and homestyle chili.

There is a lot at stake for these competitors, with prize money up for grabs. Judges will make their choices and first prize payouts range from $200 for vegetarian up to $1,000 for red chili winners.

Perhaps even more important than bragging rights and some cash in hand, winners will also qualify for the 53rd Annual International Chili Society’s world championship competition. There, the cash award for the top red chili is $25,000 while the top homestyle chili will garner its maker $20,000.

All of the chili competitors will head out to Petrack Park this weekend to cook up their creations and the entire community is invited to enjoy the festivities.

Admission to the event is free but of course, with all the sights and sounds of chili bubbling away around them, patrons will likely find themselves desiring a taste or two of the goods on offer. Chili Cook-off attendees will have a chance to try a bit of the many red, verde, homestyle and vegetarian chilis to be judged with tasting tickets, which cost $10 for 12 tastings. Those tasting should also come ready to judge themselves, as the People’s Choice award is determined by a vote of the attendees.

While the chili itself may be reason enough to hold the Silver State Chili Cook-off, the event serves a greater purpose than just competition.

Proceeds from the cook-off will go to benefit the Nevada Outreach Training Organization and its well-known No to Abuse program, which operates right here in Pahrump. As a nonprofit program, No to Abuse relies on contributions from the community and the cook-off is one of the biggest fundraisers for the organization. Last year, the event netted $13,000 for No to Abuse and event organizers are hoping for just such a successful result this year.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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