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Chili when it’s chilly
The Signal Staff
Chili, live music and charity mixed together in perfect harmony at Houston’s Traders Village Marketplace Nov. 21. When the General Go Texan Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo held its 6th Annual Houston Championship Chili Cook-off.
The event showcased 67 chili and bean cooking teams from all over Texas competing for top prize in four categories: Best Chili, Best Beans, People’s Choice and Hospitality.
Most of the teams were comprised of members from various committees formed to support the Houston Rodeo.
Patti Wilburn, chairwoman of the Houston General Go Texan Committee, was in charge of the event, which helps the Houston Rodeo to raise approximately $10.2 million for a general scholarship fund to help students attending universities and colleges in Texas.
“A substantial amount goes to the University of Houston main campus,” Wilburn said. “We are very fortunate that UH is supporting the show with many volunteers and the show gives back to the school.”
For a small donation, each guest received six tasting bowls and were free to roam through Traders Village to enjoy the vast varieties of chili and beans. Seconds were allowed, but not at all necessary.
“Last year we won first place in People’s Choice and second place in Hospitality,” said Troy Davenport, volunteer for the Camo Cookers. “This year we hope to take it all.”
Along with tasting bowls, guests were given a red ticket they could give to the team they felt had the best chili. The team with the most tickets wins People’s Choice, but a panel of judges decided who would receive the other awards.
Randy Trahan, a cook for the Transportation Committee, poured his secret ingredient into his 20-gallon pot of simmering chili – nine bottles of Zinfandel wine. He won second place for best chili.
The winners were not offered cash prizes, but they did receive glass trophies in the shape of the Houston Rodeo logo.
“It doesn’t really matter who wins,” said Tai Molano, volunteer for the Camo Cookers. “It’s about getting the community involved with Traders Village and with the Rodeo.”
Wilburn is proud of the community that formed from the chili cook-off, and she hopes to expand its outreach next year.
“Next spring for the first time ever we are going to do a chili cook-off on the UH main campus with Frontier Fiesta, which will be the last weekend in March,” Wilburn said.
Traders Village Marketplace holds events throughout the year for anyone to enjoy. Located at 7979 North Eldridge Rd. in northwest Houston, it is the largest open-air market in the Gulf Coast region. For more information, call 281-890-5500.