The People's Tribune

Addition May Boost Clarksville Chili Cook-Off On June 9

A change at the 26th Annual Show-Me Missouri State Chili Cook-off in Clarksville promises to be tasty and financially lucrative.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, at Riverfront Park. Admission is $3 per person and chili samples are 50 cents.

Chefs can compete in the new “homestyle” category. It’s almost the same as the old “anything goes” class with one huge difference. The owner of the winning recipe advances to the World Championship Chili Cook-off Sept. 28 to 30 at Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis.

“Before, it was bragging rights in Clarksville only,” said event organizer Linda Blakey. “Now, it’s a big deal. They’re competing for $20,000.”

The addition already is creating a buzz. The cook-off usually attracts around 25 chefs, but Blakey predicts there could be more this year.

“I’m getting quite a few new names,” she said. “They’re coming from all over. The homestyle category has cooked up a bunch of interest.”

Culinary artists who want to compete only at Clarksville must sign up and pay a $10 registration on the International Chili Society’s website at www.chilicookoff.com.

The group defines homestyle as any kind of chili with meat or a combination of meats and vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, spices and other ingredients. The beans are required, and at least two gallons must be made. Thirty-two ounce cups will be provided to each competitor and judges will pick the winner.

Blakey saw the homestyle category worked well at a recent cook-off in Taylorville, Ill., and decided it was worth a shot. She hopes to encourage younger cookers to participate.

The traditional red, green and salsa categories will be back. Trophies and up to $1,800 in prize money will be awarded. Hundreds of diners will line up to have their pallets pleased. The Garden Party Band will perform, and other food and drink will be available.

“I will be thankful for a beautiful day and everyone who comes,” Blakey said.

Proceeds will benefit the Raintree Arts Council, which sponsors programs in Pike and Lincoln counties. The group is a little more than 80 percent completed with a fund drive to raise $27,000 to pay for a new roof at the Apple Shed Theatre in Clarksville.

Sponsors include A & W Communication, Family Drug/BG. Pharmacy, Shelter Insurance Tim Jenkins, Trailerman Trailers, C. Tom Backer Accountant, M.T. Specialty Contracts, Golden Eagle Distributing, Brown’s Auto Body, C-M-C of Louisiana, Bank of Louisiana, County Market, La Crosse Lumber Company, Ted Brown Hauling, Pike Rental Center, G. M. Hartley, Midwest Veneer, Creech Brothers Warehousing, Chiropractic Health Center, Colliers /Bibb Veach Funeral Home, The Pirates Cove, The People’s Tribune, Roy & Judy Bruce, Raymond Abel Family, Blakey and Meers Family, Jamie Tomek, Bowood Farms, David Gray, John and Cheryl Andrews, Logan Family, John Crisan and Elizabeth Matteson.

More information is available by logging onto www.raintreeartscouncil.org.

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