The top prize in the sixth annual Marion County Park and Lake Chili Cook-off stayed very close to the parking lot where the cook-off was held. Lake residents Gordon and Judy Pendergraft won the $100 first prize for their “award-winning chili.”
Bob Priest, who also resides at the lake, sampled the chili offerings at the lake, and he said he liked the Pendergrafts’ entry because it was meaty and flavorful without being overly spicy.
“I want some spice, but not too much,” Priest said.
Second prize and $50 went to Dustin Koehn and Nick McGovern’s “D&N chili.” Third place and $35 was awarded to Billy Frary’s “burnt end brisket chili.” The competitors’ choice trophy was awarded to Karl Schafer and his “Karlose green chili.”
There were 17 contestants this year, up more than 20 percent from 2011. Organizers sold 220 tasting kits and raised $1,498 for the lake despite dreary weather and competition from the football game between Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.
There was also an impromptu contest for people who sampled the chili. Rick Myers offered a prize of $100 to anyone who could eat an entire bowl of his “last stop chili” without a beverage. Three contestants stepped up to the challenge, but only Leslie Greenemeyer walked away with the $100 prize.
John Walters of Palmer, Alaska, made the longest trip by far of any competitor. He had three separate styles of chili made with wild game, including moose chili. Walters said he made the trip to see Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson, who he considers a brother.