By David Holloway
On Friday, February 23, the Johnson County 4-H held their 6th Annual Chili Cook- Off at the National Guard Armory in Mountain City, TN. More than 200 people attended the event, as attendees sampled a variety of chili prepared by the students in the 4-H program. There were slow cookers lined up all around the walls filled with each team’s chili making it hard to decide where to start. Thanks to the different flavors to sample there was no shortage of choices. However, for those that prefer their chili hot and spicy, the pots that had the heat lined for a taste test.
The doors to the event opened at 6:00 p.m., and for $3 at the door, each person was given a ballot, a bowl, and a spoon to be used to sample the chili each team had to offer. After each person decided on which team made their favorite chili, they were encouraged to cast their vote in the ballot box. The votes were tallied, and the winners announced at the end of the evening. Forty two 4-H students participated in this year’s event with 25 pots of chili to sample. The students, all of which were fourth grade through twelve grade, prepared the chili and served their creation to the attendees. Each chili was then judged in one of three different categories: Best Home-style, Most Unique or Spiciest Chili. Everyone was enjoying sampling the different chili creations including one of the young attendees, Savanna Younce.
“It is so good,” Younce said, while her face showing that she enjoyed every bite.
Mayor Larry Potter could also be found mingling in the crowd and sampling the delicious chili. Toward the end of the chili cook-off, a dessert auction was also held. Two dozen decadent desserts were auctioned off. A wide assortment of desserts including cookies, cakes, brownies, pies, cheesecakes, bread, were all beautifully presented and looked like they would taste divine. The winners of the Best Home-Style chili were: Lauryn Bishop, Kindal Watson, and Vanessa Perkins. The winners of the ‘Most Unique’ chili were: Brooklyn Lawley and Allie Augustine. The winners of the Spiciest chili were: Chance Norris and Conner Orr.
The People’s Choice Award went to the team that won the most votes. The winners of the People’s Choice were: Isaac Lewis, Carson Jennings, and Kaden Blevins. Proceeds from the chili cook-off and dessert auction go to supporting the Johnson County 4-H program. “This is one of the largest fundraisers for our county’s 4-H program,” said Danielle Pleasant, UT Extension Agent. “The 4-H Chili Cook-Off provides opportunities for students to build life skills, get involved with the community and help support the 4-H program.” Pleasant emphasized that the money raised through the event provides funding for continuing 4-H programs including, baking and cooking classes, judging teams, scholarships for camps and conferences as well as funding for our horse clinic and show. “The sense of community and encouragement at this event is truly special to experience,” she said. “The competitors praise each other’s chili, and the attendees are uplifting of all the participants; many cannot wait to return the next year.”