A year ago Sylvia Clark was persuaded to use part of someone else’s recipe for the annual Chili Challenge benefiting the Highland County Society for Children and Adults. This year she decided to use her own recipe and claimed the champion’s title in the mild chili competition.
Clark said her recipe that included hamburger, pork or turkey, chili powder, tomato juice, onions, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, a little salt and her secret ingredient — salsa — was “just my own concoction.”
But, she added, “My first mother-in-law taught me mostly how to cook, so most of the recipe might be from her, one way or another. I just mix it up a little sometimes.”
A Hillsboro resident and member of the Highland County Senior Citizens Center where the event was staged, Clark said that last year she entered a recipe in the challenge that included cinnamon, on advice from her sister. But this year she prepared her own recipe and was excited about the result.
Hot recipe winner Robert Moots was not on hand for the contest.
The runners-up were Brandon Young in the hot category and Steve Holland in the mild category.
All winners received awards provided by NCB.
The senior center will prepare both winning recipes for the 16th annual Chili Supper and Dessert Auction that will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at the Ponderosa Banquet Center in Hillsboro. All proceeds from the event, which has raised more than $32,000 in its previous 15 years, go to the Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
Tickets for the Chili Supper and Dessert Auction are $5 presale and $6 at the door. Tickets are available at the senior center, from Hillsboro Rotary Club members and from a long of list of sponsors. Those purchasing tickets can eat at the Ponderosa Banquet Center or carry-out will be available.
Anyone that would like to donate a dessert for the auction can call the senior center at 937-393-4745.
The 48th annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon will be held from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 at the Hillsboro Orpheum and McClain High School TV studio in Greenfield. It will also be broadcast on 1590 AM and 101.5 FM. It is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs in Hillsboro and Greenfield.
In its previous 47 years, the telethon has raised $3.74 million. The money is used to provide help with medical expenses for those who otherwise might not be able to afford it.
The Chili Challenge was the brainchild of Brett Kirkpatrick and Debbie Rhude several years ago when they worked at Heartland of Hillsboro.
“We were looking for a niche in the community to do some sort of fundraising,” said Rhude, who is now retired but still helps with the chili events. “We were talking one day, and one of our facilities far up north did a soup challenge and the money raised went to the community. So we decided to hold a chili challenge.”
That first year, Rhude said, both the chili challenge and chili supper were held at Heartland, and all the visitors mixed with 100 residents were a little too much for the facility.
“That’s when John and Andrea Holt stepped up,” said Rhude, speaking of the owners of the Ponderosa Banquet Center.
For next 13 years, the Chili Challenge was held at Heartland and the Chili Supper and Dessert Auction at the Ponderosa Banquet Center. This was the second year the Chili Challenge has been held at the senior center.
There were a record 21 entries this year — 12 mild and nine hot.
“We had 16 entries last year, and 16 one other year, but this is the most entries ever,” Rhude said. “It’s grown every year and I’m just happy the community has embraced it.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.