Wilderness Trail Chili Cook-Off winners announced

Published 10:31 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

Wilderness Trail Distillery held its sixth Charity Chili Cook-Off on Sept. 23, where 22 local cooks showcased their chili-making skills.

The event brought hundreds of locals to taste each cook’s chili between 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cooks set up booths in a large circle to let each person sample their work. Attendees voted for their favorite chili for the People’s Choice Award.

The People’s Choice Award went to Kevin and Kenda Douglas of Douglas Catering. A panel of judges selected the other winners.

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The panel of judges included three local school superintendents — Elmer Thomas of Danville Schools, Mark Wade of Boyle County and Will Begley of Burgin Schools. The other judges were Boyle County soccer and softball coach Brian Deem and local sports media icon Larry Vaught.

They judged on specific criteria, including color, aroma, meat texture and consistency, blend of spices and taste.

The first place award went to Tina Morris of Just Chili’n. Second place went to Andrew Monroe and his daughter Calla Monroe of Smokin’ Mo Diesel. There was a tie for third place between G’s Chili (Julie Sell and Cohen Catron) and Kamikaze Kookers (Terry Gooch, Donna Burdette and Darlene Warner).

Cooks, as part of the contest, can form a chili team, and all teams vying for the top taste award can enter the cook-off for a donation of $25. That entry fee creates the prize pool given to the first, second, third place and people’s choice winners.

The event also featured children’s activities, drinks, sweet treats, horse and wagon rides, and music by DJ Jay.

Emily Toadvine, brand marketer for Wilderness Trail Distillery, said that some cooks participate mainly to socialize and meet people, not necessarily to win a prize, and that people have fun with it.

She said they don’t have a final count on money raised, but that they raised somewhere around $9,000. She said they’d like to thank all the sponsors for the funds raised, as well as the attendees.

Donations benefit the Danville Kiwanis Club, whose mission is to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children and senior citizens in Boyle County.

The Kiwanis use the proceeds for year-round projects such as back-to-school supplies, gifts of new clothing, coats, shoes and small toys for children during the holidays. They also treat several local senior citizens with a luncheon and small gifts during the holidays. Individuals supported by the Kiwanis during this time are not served by any other groups.