Many of the best chili cooks in America will be flocking to Claremore the first weekend in September to compete in two International Chili Society cook-offs which could qualify them to compete in the ICS World Championship Chili Cook-Off to be held in Las Vegas, NV next October. The first event will be the ICS Oklahoma Championship Chili Cook-Off to be held at the Claremore Expo Center on Friday afternoon and evening, Sept. 5th cooks will be vying for first place in red chili, green chili and salsa competitions. The first place winners in each category will qualify to represent Oklahoma at the world championships.
“It has become a tradition that the winners at the Oklahoma Championship cook-off do very well at the world cook-off” said cook-off chairman and chief judge ChiliJohn Fenrich from Owasso. “Our winners make it to the finals table at world which means they are among the top 25 chili cooks in the world.” Last year’s Oklahoma Championship cook-off drew cooks from seven states including West Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma.
“The cooks really want a win here so they have a chance at the $25,000 first place prize in Las Vegas,” Fenrich said. Then on Saturday, Sept. 6th MidAmerica Regional Chili Cook-Off. In addition to ICS competition there will be local chili teams competing for People’s Choice awards and special prizes in a variety of divisions including Non-Profit, Best of Show, Best Booth and the always coveted Ham-manship Award.
Tasting kits will be sold for both cook-offs so the public can judge for themselves which teams are cooking the best darn chili in Oklahoma.
Hours for the cook-offs are:
Oklahoma Championship – 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
MidAmerica Regional – 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
The cook-offs are held in conjunction with the Bluegrass Festival which is held at the Expo Center from Thursday, Sept. 4th Festival features nationally acclaimed bluegrass bands. Headlining this year will be Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Russell Moore & Illrd Tyme Out, Mountain Heart, Adkins & Loudermilk and the Grascals. Other activities include Festival Market, arts & crafts, open car show, Kiddie Korral, vocalist competition and many more family-oriented activities.
Owasso Harvest Festival Chili Cook-Off Chairman, ChiliJohn Fenrich, with his two grandsons, Jake, 7 and Alex, 12, promoted the 2013 Cook-Off at the Owasso Veterans Day Parade held Saturday, Nov. 10th. Young Jake is wearing his great grandfather’s uniform cap. His veteran great grandfather was in the legendary 8th Air Force in England during WWII.
OKLAHOMA CHAMPION - Chili cook-off chairman ChiliJohn Fenrich awards longtime International Chili Society cook Clif Dugan, from Denison, TX, his 1st place plaque for winning the ICS red chili competition. Dugan will represent Oklahoma at the 2013 ICS World Championship Chili
Cook-Off in Palm Springs, CA.