Road Kill and Rolaids a welcome tradition in Dalhart
By Robin Scott
Dalhart’s Rotary Club succeeded in holding its well received Road Kill and Rolaids Chili Cook Off on Saturday, October 17th. Each year contestants vie to get recognized for having the best red chili, green chili, beans and hot sauce, and area residents look forward to tasting all of the entries. A huge turnout only had the disadvantage of causing contestants to run out of their savory food.
The event got underway at 10:00 a.m. and patrons flowed in and all throughout the following four hours. Inside, they found pot after pot of delicious and often spicy hot chili, beans and salsa. The event is judged each year and winners are rewarded for their efforts. Meanwhile, a car show goes on outside and Saturday’s weather couldn’t have been custom ordered to be more perfect.
This year’s winners included: CASI red chili winner was Charlotte Hallmark from Amarillo. CASI is the Chili Appreciation Society International and more than 500 cook offs are held each year to raise money for charity. In second place was Milt Brown with Hilmar Cheese Company from Dalhart, third place Ted Hoover of Dalhart, fourth place Danny Williams from Amarillo, fifth place Russell Williams from Amarillo, 6th place Rose Koepsel from Amarillo, seventh place Mike Parker from Trinidad, Colorado, eighth place Jeremy Duncan from Amarillo, ninth place Heather Fixen from Dalhart and in tenth place Christy Weatherford from Amarillo.
The green chili first place finisher was Richard Romero, who also took first place for beans. Jeremy Duncan took first place for his prize-winning salsa. This year the Rotary Club gave out for the first time the Jim Chandler People’s Choice Winner for red chili and the car show. The Jim Chandler People’s Choice winner in red chili was Heather Fixen. Heather noted, “This cook off just isn’t the same without Jim. I really miss him!” The Jim Chandler People’s Choice winner in car show was Jeff Vance.
An award for showmanship was also given and the winner this year was Hilmar Cheese Company. The Hilmar Cheese tables were supplemented with cubes of several types of cheeses. The people manning the Hilmar Cheese tables were friendly and excited to be a part of the event. Rick Womble, an area resident stated, “I showed my car and had a really good time tasting all of the chili. Most of it was pretty hot but all was very good. The Rotary did an excellent job.” Jesse Torres, radio personality and a judge at the event noted, “Anyone who’s ever been to the Rotary’s cook off is always suprised at the comraderie between all of the contestants and how friendly everyone is when you get your sample. It is definitely a welcoming, friendly and warm environment, but that very well may be the chili!!”
The fundraiser also included both live and silent auctions. Many items were up for auction, including a grill, which after being won by Dr. Nathan Vermadahl was donated back to the club to be auctioned again. The second time around it was won by Darrell and Betty Dennis. That act of charity brought in a great deal of money for the organization.
Since not everyone has a hankering for chili, beans or salsa, the Elks Lodge had a booth with other items to eat. Hot dogs and homemade pie were two very popular items on the menu, and after all was said and done, the leftovers were auctioned as well. Kristine Olsen, the immediate past president for the Rotary Club, noted, “We did really well this year. We were short on cooking teams, but the number of people that came out was up. We raised more than enough to pay for our dictionaries this year, and the rest will go into the bicycle and safety awareness event next spring.” The Rotary Club has been supplying every third grader in the area with a brand new dictionary for three years. Olsen stated, “This is one of our biggest service projects. Each child’s dictionary has a sticker and we write their names in them before they receive them.”
Great food, fine company and an exciting auction makes the Rotary Road Kill and Rolaids Chili Cook Off one of Dalhart’s most highly anticipated events each year.