SESPE CREEK CHILI COOK-OFF and CAR SHOW RESULTS

The Sespe Creek Regional Chili Cookoff is baaaaaaaack! Jim and Eileen Beaty worked very hard to make sure that the cookoff met the required numbers of contestants for Regional status in Chili Verde and Traditional Red Chili.

This event goes back many, many years when it was chaired by Jim and Eileen who, at the time, lived in Fillmore. It has always been held on July Fourth, regardless of the day of the week. Crowds come out from Fillmore and surrounding communities to enjoy the great car show, the many vendors of food and “stuff” and, of course, the People’s Choice chili provided by the contestants. When Jim and Eileen moved from Fillmore to Bakersfield, the cookoff was dormant for a few years. Chairmanship has moved to Leanne Thompson, who is in charge of the local Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scouts Unit. Leanne puts on this event, including the car show, almost single-handedly, and has done an amazing job!

Record high temperatures had been reached in Southern California during the week preceding the cookoff, but predictions indicated that they would begin to lower before Thursday. It was actually a quite pleasant day in the mid-80s with a slight breeze to keep the air moving. Shade from big trees was available for most of the chili contestants. Fillmore is the location of a popular train museum. Featured are 1930s vintage trains, which provide scenic rides of short and longer duration. The cooks were separated from the judging area by several train tracks with train rides going on all day. However, the trains are quite short, and no problem was encountered with getting the chili delivered on time for the judges. Actually, the trains help to enhance the event, making the experience a little unique and contributing to the ambiance.

Cookoff officials were Chief Judge, Jim Beaty and Chief Scorekeeper, Karen Ray.

Bob Witt, as always, helped everywhere from numbering booths to setting up tables to judging. Eileen Beaty, Norma Ferrante and Bill Ray also worked all day. Cooks already qualified for the WCCC, Gene Beller and Irene Menchaca, also judged the final table for Traditional Red Chili.

A group of World-Class chili cooks turned out to compete for Chili Verde and Traditional Red Chili. The Salsa contest was cancelled for lack of interest, but the promised $100 prize was used to increase the money awarded to the chili verde cooks. As a bonus, each chili cook received a free raffle ticket. Several very nice raffle prizes were contributed by various vendors and awarded to the chili cooks at the end of the day when the winners were announced.

Chili Verde (11 contestants):

3rd Place, Jim Latendresse

2nd Place, Sheila Beller

1st Place, Bonnie Ford

Traditional Red Chili (21 contestants):

5th Place, Sonny Allen

4th Place, Howard Choate

3rd Place, Tish Crawford

2nd Place, Paul Laroche

1st Place, Jim Latendresse

Submitted By Karen Ray

 

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