A husband upset his defending champion wife in the mild category and a former winner claimed the title again in the hot category during the 13th annual Chili Challenge hosted Wednesday at Heartland of Hillsboro.
The event is a prelude to the 13th annual Chili Supper and Dessert Auction that will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at the Old Pondo Banquet Center in Hillsboro. The supper serves as a fundraiser for the 45th annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
The radio-telethon will be held from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 29. It will be broadcast live from US Bank in Hillsboro on the local community access television channel and on WSRW FM 101.5 and WSRW AM 1590. In Greenfield, it will be broadcast from the McClain High School Media Room on the community access channel and on WVNU FM 97.5.
There were 10 entries Wednesday in the Chili Challenge, five of the mild variety and five hot recipes, with four-person panels judging each group.
In the mild division, Hillsboro resident Larry Roades took the top prize. He upset his wife, Darlene Roades, a Heartland employee who had won the division the past five years and was the runner-up this year.
“I told her I was going to knock her out for the title this year,” Larry joked.
He said he uses his own recipe which calls for both ground beef and ground Italian sausage, along with some “secret” ingredients.
“I’m kind of like the Colonel – I have a secret recipe,” Larry said. “I have a little more science in my routine, I think.”
“He starts with a different base recipe and I have the same recipe I’ve used for years,” Darlene said.
In the hot division, Heartland Administrator Sandy Leedy took the top prize while Kevin Mitchell of East Ambulance was the runner-up.
“It’s a variety of what they call Boilermaker Tailgate Chili that they use at Purdue University tailgate parties,” said Leedy, a Peebles resident who has won the hot category three of the past six years.
She said her chili has a beer rather than tomato base.
The winning recipes will be served at the Chili Supper and Dessert Auction. The Highland County Senior Center will prepare the recipes and Heartland will supply the ingredients.
All winners in the Chili Challenge received gift certificates from NCB. The audience was welcomed to sample the entries after the contest.
Tickets for the Chili Supper are $5 for adults and $6 at the door. It includes chili, cornbread, chips and beverages. There is also the dessert auction. Anyone that would like to donate a dessert can call Ida Hecht at Heartland at 937-393-5766.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.