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Chili cook-off attracts variety of strategies

Winners donate prize money for cancer research

Staff writer

The fourth-annual Marion County Park and Lake chili cook-off attracted 17 entries, and each contestant had a different strategy.

Chili Wranglers Amanda Bentley and MaLisa DeLozier of Wichita were champions in 2009, their first year competing. What was their secret?

“We make it the same way our mothers make it,” DeLozier said.

While the Chili Wranglers stuck with a tried-and-true recipe, Jeff Saxton of Newton experimented. His pork butt chili used smoked pork, something he had never tried before, not even in a test batch. Saxton’s chili won the new cooks’ choice award, voted on by the contestants.

Competitors also had different ideas for how spicy to make the chili. Lake resident Gordon Pendergraft made his chili family friendly — spicy enough to leave a warm sensation in the mouth, but not too hot.

In the booth adjacent to Pendergraft, Rick Myers of Newton turned up the heat. His chili was so spicy it made at least one taster’s nose run.

In the end, first place went to the team of Tammi Schulte, Dana Cokely, Marcy Davis, and Angie Cox of Wichita and their “beanefit” chili. They competed to raise money for breast cancer research through Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

After the contest, third-place finisher Pendergraft said all of the award winners chose to donate their winnings, a total of $130, to breast cancer research.

The 17 entries set a new record for the contest, as did the 214 tasting kits sold, Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said.

The event raised $1,250 for the lake.

Award winners

  • First place — Tammi Schulte, Dana Cokely, Marcy Davis, and Angie Cox.
  • Second place — Carl Schafer.
  • Third place — Gordon Pendergraft.
  • Cooks’ choice — Jeff Saxton.

Last modified Oct. 7, 2010

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