Even on a not-so-chilly day, annual Chili Challenge a hit

Posted: October 7, 2013

The Winchester Star

Jeff Dollard (left) of Stephens City and Devon Taylor of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., were two of the judges for the Winchester Exchange Club’s 17th annual Chili Challenge held Saturday at the Eagles Club on Baker Lane. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Temperatures in the upper 80s isn’t exactly chili weather, but that didn’t stop a local civic organization from raising money to help area children on Saturday.

The Winchester Exchange Club’s 17th annual Chili Challenge — held at the Eagles Club on Baker Lane — raised more than $10,000, according to club president Kathy Myers.

“It’s our largest [fundraiser] of the year,” Myers said. “One hundred percent of [money raised] stays local.”

Beneficiaries include the Henry & William Evans Home for Children Inc., Fremont Street Nursery Inc. and Winchester Day Nursery, in addition to scholarships for local children.

There were nine competitors in the chili cook-off, with individuals and restaurants entering the contest.

Winchester resident Blaine Carter, 50, has made chili for the event for the past four years and entered Saturday under “Blaine’s Hokie Chili.”

Carter said his 12 gallons of chili — which contained hamburger, beans and various spices — is a fairly simple recipe, with one aspect that set it apart from the other entrants.

“[It’s] the spices, because everybody else makes theirs non-spicy and it makes theirs boring,” Carter said. “I think that’s what sets ours apart. We’ve had a great response, everyone seems to like it.”

Carter’s chili won first place in the individual category.

Other Chili Challenge winners included:

Jordan Springs Market in Frederick County, first place for chili in the Restaurant and People’s Choice categories. The market’s barbecue was also a People Choice winner, and its barbecued chicken, ribs and brisket took home a first prize as well.

Rock Harbor Grill in Frederick County won first place for its pork barbecue.

Smokin B’s BBQ took second place for its chili in the individual category and won first place for showmanship.

The Chili Challenge’s main sponsors were Valley Proteins Inc., Jim Stutzman Chevrolet-Cadillac Co. and Premium Beverage.

— Contact Matt Armstrong atmarmstrong@winchesterstar.com