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GooseFest’s first official event of the week, the Chili Cook-Off, attracted 27 teams, more than a dozen judges, and a crowd of over 300 taste-testers looking to spice up their Saturday afternoon.
The 2011 Cook-Off featured its share of personalities, including the five princesses celebrating their 2010 chili win with tiaras, roses and the trophy prominently displayed; the five sisters and two “out-laws” who won the Best of Show award as the Hot Chili Peppers; the baseball fans who provided their guests with real peanuts and Crackerjacks; the Wisconsin hunters Swamp Dawg and the Godfather who offered samples of cheese made in their state and brought along Smokin’ Joe for his first GooseFest; and members of the Quarter Pound Club, who claim they have to weigh 225 pound apiece to be on the team.
Guests could find Burnin’ Love Chili, Rock-n-Roll Chili, Creole Chili, Lunch Lady Chili, Lost Amigo Chili and even Chilly Willy’s Chili, each with its own blend of secret and not-so-secret ingredients.
One team even featured what was likely the first ever vegan chili served at the Chili Cook-Off, with Chris Christensen convincing Del Rasmusson and Larry Melgaard to join her team and try her recipe.
A pair of newcomers, however, credit the GooseFest Chili Cook-Off as the very reason they even live in Kenmare now.
Christian and Rebecca Standard were visiting the Kenmare area during the middle of October 2010. The couple lived in
“It seemed to be a community that has fun,” Christian added.
They didn’t know anyone but quickly made new friends during the GooseFest festivities and decided to move their family to Kenmare, where Christian was hired by Farmers Union Oil Co.
The Standards arrived for good last November and had a taste of
They returned to the Chili Cook-off this year as contestants, sponsored by Farmers Union Oil Co., with Back Fire Chili and a mechanic’s theme for their booth.
Christian, who has also joined the Kenmare Fire Department, maintained his West Coast chili recipe was better than the tamer versions served by most of the other contestants.
“The secret is the chipotle peppers,” said Rebecca. “They’re spicy and smoky and hot.”
“We like it here, but we’ve got to get some better food out here,” Christian said, with a grin. “That’s why we brought the chili!”