This year’s winners for “Best Chili” included first place winner Team NSLS “La Tropa” (center), second place winner UHCL Police Department’s “Hill of Beans” (bottom left), and third place winner the Nepalese Student Association (top right). Photos by Reggie Butler: The Signal.
Christopher Rupley The Signal
Burning lips, watery eyes, plenty of beer and an abundant amount of family fun took place April 6 at the 24th annual UHCL Chili Cook-Off.
There was music, karaoke, food, four enormous bouncy castles and a rock-climbing wall for the kids.
There were aisles of booths full of teams playfully arguing over who had the best chili recipe. Not surprisingly, a majority of the teams believed their chili recipe was superior.
“I’ve tried some of my competitors’ chili,” joked Allen Hill, team captain for the UHCL Police Department booth. “They don’t quite meet our standards.”
Allen was not the only team captain who believed his chili was better than the rest. This sentiment permeated the cook-off, although some team captains were slightly more tactful with their responses.
“I will probably not have anyone else’s chili, but that’s just because I’ve already filled up on our own,” said David Benz, member of the School of Education advising office team.
Still, others were more optimistic about at least trying their foes’ chili.
“I am definitely going to try some of the other teams’ chili when I get a break, but I heard none of them were any good,” teased Teresa Long, team captain for the Society of Industrial Hygiene and Safety Professionals’ booth (SIHSP).
Chili was not the only thing that brought people to this year’s cook-off.
“The UHCL Chili Cook-Off is a wonderful tradition,” said Theresa Presswood, executive director of communications. “I didn’t want to miss the special guest landing.”
Halfway through the event, sirens roared and a mock version of the secret service appeared to escort the mystery guest to the stage for a premier introduction from President William Staples.
“This is a very special day in the history of UH-Clear Lake because today will be the unveiling of our first really official mascot for UHCL,” Staples said. “This is especially a great day because we will actually unveil the mascot – the hawk mascot – that has been selected after this two-year process, due to the efforts of the Mascot Leadership Team, the Mascot Advisory Team and the input from our students, faculty, staff, and the community and alumni.”
This year’s “Best Booth” winning team was the School of Education Advising Office’s “Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili” booth. Photo courtesy of Sally Coleman.
Nearing the end of the chili cook-off, the judges announced winners for the “Best Chili.”
The third place trophy went to the Nepalese Student Association; the second place trophy was awarded to the UHCL Police Department team, and the first place winner of this year’s “Best Chili” contest was the National Society of Leadership and Success team.
The popular vote for “Best Chili” revealed much different results from those of the judges. The International Honor Society in Psychology won by participants’ standards.
This year’s “Cook’s Choice” entries included: chili, goulash, stuffed peppers and more. The team that won first place for “Cook’s Choice” was the SIHSP booth, with their stuffed jalapenos.
This year’s “Best Booth” award was given to the School of Education Advising Office team for their “Toy Story” theme booth and costumes.
The team that was awarded the “Best Spirit” trophy was the NSLS team, for their vibrant display of Latino culture.
Groups that did not place were quick to heckle the winners of this year’s Chili Cook-Off, throwing the proverbial chili gauntlet at them in anticipation of beating them at next year’s event, although it is too early to plan their attack.
“Ain’t nobody got time for that; they going down, they going down,” teased Kristen Skipper, biology major.
One nearby winning team member who overheard Skipper’s challenge had a ready response.
“I’m not worried; I welcome competition,” joked Jeremy Mejia, industrial/organizational psychology graduate student. “That’s what I have for breakfast.”
Near the end of the event, there was a free product toss. Hundreds of free UHCL Hawk t-shirts were passed out to make sure that everyone knew the hawk had landed!
Graphic created by Trent Gibson and Elisa Morales: The Signal.
Photos and slideshow by The Signal reporter Reggie Butler.
UPDATE: This post was updated April 17, 2013 for corrections.