(Apple Valley)– It’s going to be a chili day in the High Desert as the Rotary Club of Apple Valley hosts the 9th Annual Happy Trails Chili Cook-Off, presented by Valley-Hi Toyota Scion, on Saturday, October 23.
With record crowds elbowing for space in 2010, the event is hitting the trail with a new name and a new location. Formerly known as the Wannatouchama Cook-Off, the event is moving from Lions Park to the Lenny Brewster Sports Center, just five minutes away but with ten times the space. A playground, championship horseshoe pits and plenty of parking will allow for more activities for the whole family.
In addition to the live music and kids area with a bounce house, the 2010 Happy Trails Chili Cook Off will feature a car show and horseshoe tournament.
Of course, the main entrée is still the chili. Over 40 professional cooks will compete in this International Chili Society sanctioned cook off, with the winner qualifying for the World Championships in 2011. The public is invited to taste and shop their way through booths of chili cooks and vendors. Additional food vendors will be on hand, as well as a beer garden.
Cost is $5 per adult, with kids 10 and under free if they are not tasting. Paid admission includes a tasting kit with ballots to vote for the People’s Choice and best Rotary Club chili. New last year, the Community category returns, where local non-profits, businesses and individuals can also enter the chili competition.
The Lenny Brewster Sports Center is at 21024 Otoe Road. Gates are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the best chili selection between 11am and 2pm. The cook-off has continued to grow in prestige in the chili world, attracting world-champion cooks and the finest judges.
With stringent chili preparation rules and cash prizes topping out at $1000 cash, chili recipes are closely guarded secrets. However, the camaraderie and festive atmosphere at a cook-off is infectious for all who attend.
“As a regional qualifying event for the World Championship, the Happy Trails Chili Cook Off is like the wildcard round leading up to the World Series,” explained Kathie Martin, event chair. “This event attracts elite cooks and ICS-certified judges, and the Rotary Club of Apple Valley is proud to host it.”
The Happy Trails Chili Cook-Off is the largest annual fundraiser for the Apple Valley Rotary Club, last year surpassing $100,000 in a running total. All funds are used to support school children in the community. These include giving a reading book to every Kindergartner in the district, as well as a dictionary to every third-grader. Major sponsors of the event include Valley-Hi Toyota Scion, Charter Communication, Southwest Gas, the Town of Apple Valley and KATJ.