Lake Havasu Chili Cookoff and Boat Show - April 12, 2014

Well, we did it!  It’s official – People’s Choice prize money has been increased to $250 for 1st and $100 for 2nd.   We also have changed the salsa prize money from 100% payback to $100, $50 and $25.  Come on over to beautiful Lake Havasu for a fun day of chili, boats, incredible water crafts, Legends by the Lake Car show, and high speed water ski racing, all of which are within eyeshot, earshot and walking distance from the cookoff site.  Remember, we’re only about an hour from Laughlin, and below are the links to local hotels (mention the boat show) and RV parks.

Don’t forget, we will be serving chili to the Boat Show and cookoff VIP’s (that includes all cooks and judges) from 6:00-7:00 pm Saturday night at the cookoff site (free beer to all!)  You can also stay and BBQ, drink, visit, etc. at the site until around 10:00 pm.

The Boat Show coordinator is asking if 3 or 4 chili teams (or more) would be willing to come back on Sunday to do a “People’s Choice Anything Goes” free-for-all and hand out chili from 10:00 am to 1:00 or 2:00 pm.  (You can leave everything set up and in your booth - there is 24-hour security thru Monday morning).  No entry fee, no health dept. - just come and cook/serve chili (there will be Dolores Chili Bricks available).  We will charge $3 a ticket to the public and you will receive $2 for each ticket dropped in your box, and $1 for each ticket will go back to the Athletic Boosters Club.  There will still be a large public turn-out for the Boat Show that day which runs until 3:00 pm so you could make some extra money!  The boat show draws over 8,000 spectators over the three-day event.  Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering for a fun Sunday so we can make the necessary arrangements.

OK, now the Health Dept. information.  They are not requiring that each cook have a food handler’s card, but if you have one, please bring it.  They are, however, requiring that we provide them a list of the cooks by April 4th (we can add to it no later than Noon on April 11th) and they will not allow walk-in contestants (don’t understand why -  we will question them on this next week).  If you feel you may be participating, PLEASE, PLEASE let us know by registering on the ICS site or via email or phone.  It would be better to have you on the list than no,t even if you can’t make it for some reason.

Please do not hesitate to contact Dennis and Allene Macklin,, 928-566-1336 for additional information.  We will be publishing one more article including the specific location of the cook-off.


Cookoff  Information:

Set up time  starts:      7:00 am

Cooks  Meeting:            9:00  am

Verde Cooking  Time  10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Salsa  Turn in                11:30  am

Red Cooking  Time       12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Entry Fees:

Red Chili: $35.00 + 1 gal  of PC

Verde Chili $25.00 + 1 gal  of PC

Salsa $15.00 + 1 quart for  tasting


Red Chili:  1st.  $500.00, 2nd. $300.00, 3rd. $100.00

Verde           1st  $300.00, 2nd. $200.00, 3rd. $100.00

Salsa:          1st. $100.00, 2nd. $50.00,   3rd. $25.00

People’s Choice 1st.  $100.00, 2nd $50.00, 3rd $25.00

Best Booth:  Trophy

If you have any questions  please contact Bob Scopel at or by  phone at 714-274-5829


Two great cookoffs were once again held in the ball fields of the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center in Ahwatukee, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) on March 8th and 9th, 2014. The weather was beautiful both days and sunny with highs in the lower 80’s.  Cooks came from 6 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada and Texas) to cook their hearts out to qualify in 6 events for the World’s Championships.  Cooks gave out lots of People’s Choice chili to the large crowds both days.  Over $1000 each day was raised for their charities:  Ahwatukee Youth Programs of the Center and the Little League.  With a carnival going on next to the cookoff both days, and a Farmers Market on Sunday, the cooks had two very busy days.   

With enough cooks, we had 2 tables in Red and Verde on Saturday, and 2 tables in Red on Sunday. These cookoffs will be Regional status again next year.

    Our chairperson, Susan Hyden, the Director of the Community Center, along with her “crew”, did a fantastic job of organizing and putting on this event.   I asked for judges both days, and boy, did I have a supply of mostly experienced judges that came back and judged both days.  Thank you to the scorekeepers and wranglers each day that kept the judging area running smoothly:  AJ Walton, Ryland Townsend, Dianne Gatschet, Greg and Lynn Virant, Ginny Kost, and of course, my wonderful wife, Kathy Plager as Chief Scorekeeper, who kept everything running accurately and on time in the judging area.  

    For some reason, most of the cooks enjoy giving me a hard time, as the two-time Back to Back World’s Red Champion.  Believe me, I sometimes dish it out, so I guess I handle it pretty well, even though I wasn’t feeling too great on Sunday.  Thank you everybody, for making me feel pretty special.

     The cooks and the judges enjoyed all the Sunsweet prunes I displayed and gave away during the weekend.  The diced Sunsweet Plum Amazins, the individually wrapped prune ”Ones”, and or course the new Chocolate covered Plum Sweets, were a big hit again.  Lots of samples were given out, as well as copies of my chili recipe (which Sunsweet printed), even to the cooks.  Do you use prunes??  All I can say is, they work for some cooks!!!

Now, on to the winners:

AZ Copperstate Regional (Saturday)

People’s Choice

Rick Decker - CA

Salsa - 12 entries

3rd Place - Karen Cullum - TX

2nd Place - Tom Tutrone - AZ

1st Place - Pam Wright - AZ

Chili Verde - 22 entries

3rd Place - Dave Wright - AZ

2nd Place - Mike Ford - CA

1st Place - Wes Carlson - IL

Red Chili - 27 entries

4th Place - Skip Cooley - NV

3rd Place - Armando Sanchez - CA

2nd Place - Rick Decker - CA

1st Place - Pam Wright - AZ

AZ Valley of the Sun Regional (Sunday)

People’s Choice

HM - Leeroy Watson - AZ

1st Place - Wes Carlson - IL

Salsa - 12 entries

HM - 4th Place - Bonnie Bootz - AZ

3rd Place - Tom Tutrone - AZ

2nd Place - Susan Hyden - AZ

1st Place - Dave Wright - AZ

Chili Verde - 19 entries

HM - 4th Place - Leeroy Watson - AZ

3rd Place - George Lott - CO

2nd Place - Armando Sanchez - CA

1st Place - Dave Wright - AZ

Red Chili - 24 entries

HM - 4th Place - George Lott - CO

3rd Place - Ron Burt - CA

2nd Place - Dave Wright - AZ

1st Place - Mike Fenley - AZ (1st time qualifying for World’s)

Bob Plager

Chief Judge

2012 & 2013 ICS World’s Red Chili Champion

March 8 Homestyle Chili Cookoff, Duck Race and 5K Walk in Bullhead City

As usual, Bullhead City did not fail us and provided wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour throughout the day.  The temperature was very comfortable in the low 80’s and most of the cooks did not put up their canopies.  Karen Morris and her staff did a fantastic job coordinating the cook-off, duck race and 5K walk.  It was a lot of work and they should be commended on how smooth everything went.   All three events were held as fundraisers for We Care Cancer Support.

Dennis and I were going to be the Chief Judge and Scorekeeper (in that order), but Karen was desperate for cooks to meet the minimum of 10 to qualify for 2014 WCCC, so we bowed out and entered the contest.  Steve Wolff graciously jumped to the plate as Chief Judge and did an outstanding job and was assisted by Fred Eck.  Thanks so much Steve, it was truly appreciated by all.  I gave a quick scorekeeping lesson to Karen and a couple of her staff and they did a great job as well.   They just needed a little help from me a couple of times.

Now for the winners:

People’s choice:

Steve Barnes from the Hideout in Laughlin

Home-style winners:

3rd – Marcia Wohler from Lake Havasu

2nd – Allene Macklin from Lake Havasu (honest, it was all legal!)

1st – Mark Haught from Pahrump – qualifies for 2014 WCCC Home-style

Thanks again to everyone for making this a fun day, except for the ever-present wind (our canopy broke but we will rebuild!)

Dennis and Allene Macklin


Hi Everyone,

No, it is not a typo in the Subject line; Chili Chicks Regional #1 and Chili Chicks Regional #2 are both scheduled for Saturday April 5th at Lake Park, Florida. These two cookoffs will represent the tail-end of the South Florida “qualifiers” for the 2014 Chili Year - unless Nicky’s Regional Cookoff in Pembroke Pines re-emerges – so consider this a “call for action” to sign-up and support the event;
These cookoffs are replacing the two day back-to-back Acreage Music Festival ones of the past half-decade+, which have ranked among the most fun and cook friendly cookoffs anywhere; something I fully believe will carry over at the new venue. But two cookoffs on the same day???

When Chairman Robert Trepp first broached the idea, my response was along the lines of: “in all the years I’ve been involved in ICS (both sides of the stove), I’ve never been part of such a thing; as I matter of fact, I don’t ever remember hearing about one”. “However, I don’t see anything in the rules that says you can’t do it; the question is what do the cooks think of the idea…and would they support it?”

At the new (for this year), and gorgeous back-to-back “Smokin on the Bay” cookoffs in December which opened the “South Florida 2014 Chili Year” (both upgraded to Regionals), Robert and the Chili Chicks were there. Also were most of the “usual suspects” there cooking; so it seemed an ideal time to discuss the previous.

When the idea of back-to-back cookoffs on the same day was presented, the initial reaction from the cooks was: “say what… (???)” Then about three nanoseconds later, it was followed by: “why not; makes sense; we’re already set up; do the first one and announce the winners, then do the second one; two shots at the WCCC plus head home; I like it.”

Well; ask and you shall receive…so here it is. Now the ball is in your court to make it happen by participating, which I’m sure you will.

I spoke with Robert a couple of days ago, and he is working on the details of the Cooks’ Party and the Headquarters Hotel. As soon as those are firmed up, the information will be disseminated both by email, as well as on the ICS website plus Dick’s Chili World.

We are also working on the firming up of a schedule.
I have personally never been to Kelsey Park in Lake Park; but I’ve heard it is right on the Intracoastal Waterway and quite beautiful. I did look it up on Google Earth, and the satellite view sure seems to support the fact that it’s indeed very pretty.

Well that does it. Other than thinking back that not that long ago, we had a scarcity of WCCC Qualifiers in South Florida (like zero)…and this year by my count we’ve already had six, with the two Chili Chicks Regionals making eight.

That doesn’t happen without some great cooks and their support; so this is yet “another opportunity to excel” by not only sending two more champions to the World in all three categories with having 10 cooks in each, but as important getting us to 20 Reds in both cookoffs so as to keep two qualifier cookoffs from the get-go for 2015. No doubt we’ll get there…and looking forward to seeing everyone,



Spring is definitely in the air - the birds are preparing to nest and the desert tortoise once again is emerging from its winter sleep. And the veterans at the California City American Legion are starting to prepare for another great chili cookoff. The veteran leading the charge is none other than Him in Charge, Phil Morosky a.k.a. Dirty Ole Phil. Phil is now sporting a new look. When he looks in the mirror, Phil sees Si Robertson from the hit show Duck Dynasty, duck call included! When Phil a.k.a. Si is not looking in the mirror he is busy scurrying about California City preparing for this year’s Desert Rat Regional Chili Cookoff. There will once again be lots of room for RVs to camp on clean dirt. And those cooks who arrive by car or pickup truck will be able to cook next to or behind their vehicle. People’s choice chili will be optional but we encourage you to participate as there is $100 prize money for People’s choice.

The American Legion will once again be putting on a free breakfast for Chili Cooks and Judges (The first 50 to show up). They will also be providing a Saturday evening chicken dinner for a small donation ($8), and it is usually quite substantial with all the trimmings and dessert. There is nothing like a good dessert in the desert! Once again Him in Charge has arranged for good prize money. Both Red Chili & Green Chili are the same amount. $500 First Place $300 Second Place and $100 Third-Place. For Salsa $100 to the winner. When Mike  (Uglee) Austin is not searching the desert for tortoises he will be Emcee for the day. Unfortunately, Mike will not have his dog and pony show this year as the pony has a severe case of hay belly and the dog refuses to perform without the pony. Randy will be the disc jockey playing your favorite tunes. There will also be raffles, Miss Chili Pepper, Mr. Hot Sauce and Shoot and Holler. The Legion will also be serving hot dogs and hamburgers and cold beer all afternoon for a small donation.

                           DUTCH OVEN STEW CHALLENGE

Dirty Ole Phil said “ I have been requested, again & again, to have a Bragging Rights Dutch Oven (the heavy black iron pot) Stew Challenge”. And so the Stew Challenge will take place on Friday 28th of March 2014 before the Desert Rat Regional Chili Cookoff. The rules will be very simple - must be cooked in a cast iron pot using charcoal or campfire. NO PROPANE STOVES. And ready for judging at 1800 ( 6 PM to you non-military and non-European types) Friday afternoon. Judges will be picked on the spot or before. Tabulation of the scores will be done by a qualified scorekeeper, that would be Donnie Gordon. The stew will be judged on taste (but looks can‘t hurt). Please let us know by e-mail by 26th of March if you plan to compete. A minimum of five cooks are needed! A $15 entry fee will be required for expenses and bribes, with remaining monies returned as prize money. DISCLAIMER: this challenge has no connection to any other organization or any other set of rules. These rules can be changed to suit the mood of the Head Scorekeeper or the Supreme Judge of Stewdom.

Big Cheeses for the day.

Him in Charge: Dirty Ole Phil

Head Scorekeeper of Stewdom & Chief Scorekeeper: Donnie Gordon

Supreme Judge of Stewdom & Chief Judge: Capt. Jim Maehl

Emcee The Incomparable: Mike (Ughlee) Austin

 - By CJM



Capt Jim and I went to Pahrump Thursday to do a 4 hour radio interview. Thank you Carol Hancock, Bob Plager, Norm Gaul and Kim LaTendresse for calling in. We had fun… I guess most of Pahrump listens to KNYE, we had fun and were told that it is now an annual thing for Thursday before the cookoff. As expected the rain came down heavy Friday, stopping during the night. But not before we all got drenched getting to the motorhome from the “Range Dinner. Fortunately there weren’t even mud puddles Saturday morning. It was beautiful out all day (and Jim and I had been sweating having many more than 10 cooks due to the forecast… Fooled us!)

Capt Jim did his usual great job as Chief Judge assisted in the judging area by Norm Gaul, Pete Caimi and Phil Morosky who also wandered around the area in his Duck Dynasty gear for the crowds. Scoring were Donnie Gordon, Bobbie Gaul and Nicole Caimi. When Nic was feeling a little week she and Pete went back to Vegas and we grabbed Ken Hook (only turned in Salsa) and John Piri to help fill in as scorekeepers. Thank you all for a wonderful job!  And the winners are:

Salsa (10 Contestants):

3rd Place - Mark Haught, NV

2nd Place - Gene Beller, CA

1st Place - Steve Taylor, CA

Verde (12 Contestants):

3rd Place - Paul Whitney, AZ

2nd Place - Clark McGee, CA

1st Place - Jim Beaty, CA

Red Chili (22 Contestants):

Tied for 4th - Bob White, NV & Mike Stewart, CA

3rd Place - Jim Beaty, CA

2nd Place - Tish Crawford, CA

1st Place - Marty Leitner, NV

Ron Frasier announced that the date for next year was March 7 (1st Sat in March seems to be the standard). Congratulations to the winners and Thank you to all the cooks and volunteers. What a wonderful family we have! See ya in California City “Last Saturday in March”.


Just a quick note to report on the Gulf Coast Regional Cookoff yesterday.  We had a decent turnout with a few no shows that dropped our competitor list to 36 chilis.  One of the lightest turnouts we’ve had in a while.  

  Paul Nunn and his family were here for their 21st straight showing.  Of course you know Paul won last year and placed 2nd at the 2013 WCCC!  Unfortunately, (at the last minute) Paul was not able to compete so Saturday morning, his 2nd son Jeff filled out a membership form and took over his dad’s spot.

    As the judges were leaving the finals table, they all commented about how difficult the judging had been because all of the chilis were exceptionally good.   There was a tie between 3rd and 4th which lead to a tie between 4th and 5th.  When the scores were tallied, and rechecked twice and then again, the results were quite shocking- the Nunn’s swept the competition!   Tim Nunn got first, Jeff Nunn got second, and Tim’s daughter Alyssa Jones came in third.    The odds are astronomical, but it happened.  Naturally, the other cooks were skeptical, but everyone got the opportunity to taste the chilis afterwards and they were different.   I know Paul was sick to have missed the cookoff, but his family filled those shoes and made up for his absence in a big way!

  Forth place went to J.G. Carver with the Spice boys who also won 1st place in Salsa.

Wanda Ganswich (with 3 Sheets to the Wind) won 5th place which ironically completes her straight of trophys having won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and now 5th at our cookoff.  I think she was just as happy to get that 5th trophy as she would have been had it been 1st.

   Overall, crowd turnout was light, too, despite perfect weather.  The gate receipts indicated  around 3,500 entries.  Still, the preliminary figure is around $70,000 raised just yesterday for the VFD which makes it a huge success! 

The pics are of the Nunn family sending Paul a message on the backs of their awards checks and another which includes their neighbor JG Carver with his First Place Salsa. 


We have been diligently working on this upcoming cookoff and are looking forward to it being a total success.  We and the Athletic Boosters Club continue to pursue additional funding in an attempt to increase the People’s Choice prize money.  We believe this will be possible and anticipate raising it to at least 1st-$250; 2nd-$100 if not more……stay tuned for confirmation!!!

We have plenty of space for an abundance of cooks, so please sign up thru the ICS website.  You can arrive and set up on Friday afternoon if you prefer, as there is 24 hour security.  Dennis will be there after 1:00 pm to assist you, and you will be able to park your vehicle within the cookoff site on Saturday.  The boat show draws nearly 8,000 spectators and we are just a few steps away, so we expect a large crowd of hungry chili tasters.  For lodging and RV accommodations, please visit for complete information.

The promoter of the boat show has once again asked us to serve chili to the boat show vendors, VIP’s, cook-off judges, cooks, VIP’s, etc. Saturday evening following the cookoff, which includes free beer!!!  This will take place at the cookoff site between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and if you want to stay in the area, there are BBQ’s available for your use until around 10:00 pm. 

We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Lake Havasu in April.  The weather will be incredible and there are many things to see and do in our wonderful city.

For additional information, please contact Dennis and Allene Macklin, - 928-566-1336


BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The New England Regional Chili Cook Off is very proud to announce we will awarding over $5,000 in prize money.
Red Chili first prize is $2,000!
Green Chili first prize is $750!
Salsa first prize is $250!
People’s Choice first prize is $350!
Sign up today….ya can’t win if you don’t cook!

For more burning info please contact Michael Freedman @


Donnie Gordon and Capt. Jim Maehl will be going live on the radio in Pahrump, Nevada on KNYE radio February 27, 2014. They will be talking about the upcoming chili cookoff in Pahrump, Nevada on Saturday, March 1. They will also be giving the listening public an insight to the chili cookoff world. They anticipate having call-in guests - our current World’s Champion Bob Plager and also CEO of the ICS Carol Hancock. The show will be airing between 1 PM & 4 PM PST (Pacific Standard Time). If you would like to listen in and have a computer or smart phone, it will be streaming live on If you would like to call in you can do so at 775-537-6100. Your questions or stories about chili cookoff’s will be welcome.



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