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Jeep and Chili Cookoff Brings the Heat and Surprises

PHOTO: I.I. Cabrera -

Park Drive in Wrightwood was filled with Jeeps on October 9th, for the 2021 Jeep and Chili Cook-off.

The annual Jeep and Chili Cook-off was held on October 9th, and this year 12 participants were competing in the cook-off that featured some surprising recipes. The same day, there was also a salsa competition with 25 participants, and entries varied from sweet to very hot.

From the looks of things, the chili was the day’s main event. In the Wrightwood Community Building parking lot, hundreds stood in lines holding a plastic bag with tickets and a spoon inside for tasting the chili. When you reached the front of the line, you handed over a ticket and received a sample of chili. After sampling all the chili recipes, attendees voted on their favorite for the people’s choice award.

Mike Possard attended the chili cook-off and had a Jeep in the exhibition. He says that he voted for number seven as the best chili. It was a Mexican pork chile verde style chili that was served with a warm tortilla. “There was a lot of good chilies” in the competition, said Possard.

Julie Walters attended the chili cook-off with friends. In her group, chili number one seemed to be the favorite. “Anything with sausage, I’m like biased. If it has sausage, that’s my favorite,” she explains. Chili number one was a traditional tasting sausage chili that was topped with cheese and sour cream. Among those interviewed, it seemed to be the overall favorite.

Around 2 pm, all the chili was gone, and it was approaching the time to reveal the winners. In third place was booth number five that served a white bean cream chicken chili made by Carol and Rocky Randall. They also won the people’s choice award for the best chili. In second place was Therese Stanford in booth number four. In first place was Johnathan Schaefer, who had a very creative midwestern chili that was served with a cinnamon roll. The chili was a surprising mix of sweet and spicy that worked very well together.

In the salsa competition, the winner was Brandy Wade for salsa number 5. She was also voted as the winner of the people’s choice.

Johnathan Schaefer won the 2021 Chili Cook-off with a midwestern style chili served with a cinnamon roll.
Brandy Wade won first place in the salsa contest. Her salsa also won the people’s choice award.

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