17th Exchange Club Chili Challenge will benefit local charities

Posted: October 3, 2013

The Winchester Star

Piccadilly’s Public House in Winchester took part last year at the Winchester Exchange Club’s annual Chili Challenge at the Eagles Club in Winchester. This year’s event will be held Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

Winchester — People have no reason to walk away hungry when they attend the Winchester Exchange Club’s 17th annual Chili Challenge.

With a variety of professional and amateur cooks serving up chili and barbecue ribs, pork and chicken, there will be plenty of food for everyone to have a full stomach, said Kathy Myers, president of the club and chair of the event.

“With the turn of the season and the weather getting cooler, people naturally gravitate to comfort foods in the fall, and chili is at the top of that list,” she said. “And the barbecue is just delicious.”

The cook-off will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Eagles Club, 700 Baker Lane. Admission is $8 in advance and $12 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.

The club’s largest fundraiser, which raised more than $15,000 last year, will once again bring people in for an afternoon of good food, music and games, she said.

The big draw for the day is the food, with people able to purchase $1 samples, and if they find something they really like, buy a whole portion, she said.

The event is always a mix of individual competitors and ones representing restaurants or catering companies, she said.

Blaine Carter of Frederick County will be back competing for the fourth time under the name Blaine’s Hokie Chili. He said he doesn’t have a whole lot of secret ingredients like soda, beer or exotic spices.

The one thing he does have is a nice kick of spiciness, he said. “If it is not spicy, it is boring.”

This year, Carter also helped organize a new cornhole tournament, which begins at 12:30 p.m. Entry is $20 per team. No preregistration is required.

“Cornhole is pretty big in this area,” he said. “It is an extra way to bring more people into the event and another way to put more dollars into the kitty.”

People can also pay to try to submerge local celebrities in water with the return of the dunk tank, she said.

Proceeds from the tournament, dunk tank and ticket sales are put back into the community by way of giving funds to organizations, such as the Fremont Street Nursery, Henry and William Evans Home for Children, Winchester Day Preschool, and local scholarships, Myers said.

Throughout the day, music by Terry Oates and the Mudcats will keep the mood light and entertaining, she said. “It is just an experience having Terry at any event. He is full energy from start to finish.”

While wandering around the event, people can browse the offerings of several vendors who will be set up, Myers said. A children’s area will have a moon bounce and activities to keep the youngsters occupied.

This marks the third year a poker run will be held in conjunction with the Chili Challenge and put on by the Winchester Harley Owners Group, she said. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at Grove’s Winchester Harley-Davidson, 140 Independence Drive, and the ride starts at 11 a.m.

The ride will last more than two hours, taking riders around the area and finishing at the Chili Challenge, she said.

“The bikes and the chili kind of complement each other,” Myers said. “There is always such good food at the event; it is a natural partnership.”

An entry fee of $25 for riders and $15 for passengers also covers admission to the challenge. All proceeds go to the Exchange Club.

For more information on the poker run, contact 717-860-7666.

The event will be held rain or shine, so Myers urged people to “come early and come hungry.”


The Winchester Exchange Club’s 17th annual Chili Challenge will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Eagles Club, 700 Baker Lane.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $8 at any local HandyMart store. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $12. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.

For more information, contact 540-533-2450.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com