The five members of the Lone Wolf No Club chili team combined their recipes for Hannibal’s 35th annual Chili Cook-Off on Feb. 17, and this paid off double. They took second place ($500) in the chili judging and also won the People’s Choice prize.
Cindy Benjamin had earlier explained their chili “is made with lots of love,” with members each making their own chili recipe and bringing it to Cook-Off. “Everybody loves the way they make their own chili.”
When Benjamin received the $164 check as People’s Choice winner, she donated it back to the Northeast Missouri Humane Society, which will benefit from the Cook-Off. The total raised by voters was $328.
Before the winning team left the stage the Cook-Off emcee noted that Lone Wolf will sponsor its 2018 bike show on Saturday, June 16, at the Y Men’s Pavilion in downtown Hannibal.
The Chili Cook-Off was co-sponsored by Golden Eagle Distributing and the Hannibal Jaycees.
Hog Call Chili received $1,000 as first place winner. Team leader Kyle Barton reported he came from Des Moines, Iowa, and competes somewhere every other weekend.
The Ye Olde Drunks chili team was third place winner, receiving $250, and also won the costume contest, for another $250. In keeping with the Cook-Off’s medieval-theme, each member was dressed in costume, and team leader Corey Fry and his wife, Alex, also wore crowns.
After Melissa Haynes of Golden Eagle presented the winners their prizes, she noted she was glad the light snow that fell earlier Saturday had disappeared and did not appear to affect the size of the wall-to-wall crowd at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.
The NEMO Humane Society team also was pleased with the size of the crowd, as it will receive a portion of the proceeds. This team named itself To Beef or Not To Beef. Members were Jackie Dryden, Kellie St. Clair, Chris Taylor, Angela Brown, Elise Blue, Carrie Fogle and April Baldwin.
Some people shared their special chili ingredients while others, like Jestun Nutter of The Nutters said, “It’s a secret. We have a recipe we use every year. And we won first place last year.”
Two chili teams made their debut at this annual event: Huckleberry Bistro and Ruba’s General Store.
Dan and Gina Janes served the Huckleberry Bistro chili. She said their chili – which is also served at their restaurant - “has lots of flavor and is not too hot.”
Ruba’s chili was served by Charlie Ruba and Cindy Dener. Ruba said they were invited to participate by “a good customer, Sharkey.”
Despite making their first appearance, Dener was sure she was serving, “the best white chicken chili in the building.”
Box Car Willy Chili participates each year, and this year Chris Hooley, Richard Tate and Ron Knutelski explained that in addition to their “sweet and a little smoky” flavor, they had white chili but did not enter it in the contest.
At the Rumor Has It booth, Samantha Elliott reported they had “cheesy chicken enchilada chili.”
Sarah Livers of Shelbina wore a medieval dress at the Bean Team booth, where her husband, Joe, was dressed as a beer bottle.
At Drake’s Steak and Ale booth, Tim Hart said he was serving the homemade chili recipe served at Drake’s.
Some teams had sold out by 4:30 p.m., including the Hannibal Country Club.
Another was the Shelbyville Moonshiners, who reported they had served two gallons. Michael Rich of this non-profit team reported their chili was unusual because, “We use pork. We don’t have anything in it” that is normally added to chili.
Rodney Stolte of Uncle Rod’s Chili also had run out by late afternoon, as did Finn’s Food and Spirits.
Reach reporter Bev Darr at firstname.lastname@example.org.