Chili winners hail from West Richland

WA STATE CHILI COOKOFF NEWS RELEASE -- Washington State Chili Cookoff sanctioned in three categories Saturday, June 29 and is sending winners to the World Championship October 11-13 in Palm Springs with International Chili Society. All three 1st place winners are from Washington state. To sanction a minimum of 10 competitors must enter a category. Chili Red had 15 competitors, Chili Verde and Salsa each had 11 compete.

First place winners are: Chili Red; Lisa Beaver of West Richland, Chili Verde; Chris Beaver of West Richland and Salsa; Ron Bryan of Seattle. Also placing in Chili Red; 2nd Bob Wetzel of Manhattan, MT, 3rd Chris Beaver of West Richland, 4th Joe Barrett of Worley, Idaho and 5th Darroll Wetzel of Manhattan, Montana. Also placing in Chili Verde; 2nd Frank Volz of Grayland and 3rd Bob Wetzel of Manhattan, Montana. Also placing in Salsa; 2nd Marillee Barrett of Worley, Idaho.
Races were tight with ties broken for winners and others with only one or two separating places. Competitors included former World Champs; three in Red, one in Verde and one in Salsa. With seven states and around Washington state represented, competitors vied for top honors in Chili Red, Chili Verde and Salsa. Guest judges sampled in blind tastings. Head judge Skip Cooley and Scorekeeper Dione Cooley from Nevada oversaw the judging and scoring process.

"We were presented the opportunity to move this event from King County to Grays Harbor after the first of the year. Even with the short time to prepare, it was an opportunity and challenge we chose to accept," Cynthia Stearns, Moclips resident and Event Producer said.

Founded in 1967, the International Chili Society is an organization that sanctions nearly 200 chili cookoffs each year that are governed by ICS rules and regulations and a blind judging process. These events are worldwide and benefit charities or non-profit organizations. Local winners of ICS sanctioned cookoffs qualify to compete for cash prizes and awards throughout the year.

Top-level winners compete for a total prize package of $55,000 at the Worlds Championship Chili Cookoff held each year in October. One million spectators a year participate in ICS events by cooking, tasting, judging, and having a good time.

Washington State Chili Cookoff selected four nonprofits/charities to support: Arthritis Foundation (Washington state); Meals on Wheels (Grays Harbor/Pacific Counties); Copalis Beach Copalis Community Church Summer Lunch program and the Pacific Beach Elementary Emergency Clothing Fund. Phyllis Shaughnessy of the North Beach lunch program said she was "shocked" they received over $237 in donations and "many people were interested in the program."

"We would like to thank the businesses and people of the North Beach, those within Washington state and around the United States who supported this event. Also, a thank you to the competitors, our head judge and scorekeeper who travelled to the Washington coast and the Pacific Ocean. It was a spectacularly beautiful day and it proves a small community can produce a state level event," Stearns said.