BRAWLEY - The spicy smell of chili floated through the air on Brawley's Main Street as the Chamber of Commerce hosted its 33rd annual Chili Cook-Off Saturday, November 3. Thousands of guests sampled different chili recipes before casting votes for the best chili in the Valley.
Each year, the Brawley Chamber kicks off Cattle Call week with the Chili Cook-Off. According to Chamber President Katie Luna, the cook-off sets the tone for the week's festivities of food, parades, and the highly-anticipated Cattle Call Rodeo.
“The Chili Cook-Off is a kick off to a week full of events leading up to the rodeo. It sets the tone for a country rodeo atmosphere,” said Luna.
Children meandered down the street with masks of chili around their mouths, and unforgiving chili stains on their shirts. Parents taste-tested chili samples from ten different competitors who set up booths and busted out family recipes to serve with toppings of grated cheese and sour cream.
After making their way to the different chili booths, attendees chose their favorites and dropped ballots into boxes near the stage. According to Luna, the event pulls approximately 5,000 people each year to taste samples of warm, chunky chili. Thermal Chili was the winner of the People’s Choice this year.
Judges made their rounds at the cook-off to do some taste testing of their own and decided who would take home the title of Best Chili in the Valley.
First place was awarded to the Brawley Fire Fighters Kick Ash Chili, while second was awarded to Mingo’s Full House Chili. Third place went to Los Chiles Calientes.
Guest attendee and chili sampler Gage Herzog said, “It’s never too early for chili. I made sure to get here early enough to taste all of the chili. They always run out quick, so I came early this year.”