Chili cook-off could be one hot event

The upcoming Northwest International Chili Cook-off at the Northeast Washington Fairgrounds on Sept. 21 will be notable, lively and an enjoyable opportunity. So says event organizer Bud Budinger, who, for the past year, along with his wife, Joanne, has been working to build participation in the event, which will feature contestants from Colville, Kettle Falls, Canada and even Bellingham, all vying for the coveted title of who has the best chili. For those looking to participate and test their chili making expertise, it isn’t too late to enter. “It needs to be big, exciting and fun, with lots to do, buy and eat,” says Bud. “If we come up with a memorable event, people will go, ‘I don’t want to miss that next year.’” Sponsored by the Colville Rotary Club, there are around 15 contestants signed up so far that will compete in three categories: Chili Solo Carne (all meat), Chili Con Carne (with meat and beans) and Chili Frijoles (vegetarian chili). A “Peoples Choice” award and Judge’s Pick award will also be given out. The public is encouraged to attend for a $12 entrance fee that includes all-you-can-eat chili, access to live entertainment, and other food and retail vendors selling everything from homemade ice cream, fish and chips, BBQ, and arts and crafts. “We will have a referee from the International Chili Appreciation Society to oversee the competition and make sure we are in compliance with their standards,” explained Budinger. “We want this to be a major deal, something that the community will get behind and come to in droves.” Live entertainment includes musical performances by The Texas Twisters, Johnny and The Moondogs, Sweet Adelines, Travl’n’ Opry, and dancing by the Stevens County Stompers. There will also be performances by the Tough Enough Drill Team and Northwest Mounted Shooters going on in the arena. The Colville Rotary Club’s Blazing Saddles Bike Ride will also be underway Sept. 21, and is open to cyclists of all levels and ages. On site registration will be available at the Northeast Washington Fairgrounds and all rides finish at the Chili Cook-off. The Budingers are requesting volunteers to help with set up and tear down at the event, as well as helping throughout the day. Local high school students looking for community service hours are encouraged to sign up and volunteer. Those interested in helping can call Alison McGrane at 684-8484. “We are still looking for booth vendors and participants, so if this is something you’re interested in, we’d like it if you gave us a call,” Budinger said. Entry fee for the chili contestant is $50 through the end of July, and then the fee is $60. For more information, call the Budingers at 509-732-8917, or email