The atmosphere around downtown Bullard was filled with spicy flavors and the spirit of friendly competition, as the Bullard Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its second annual Bullard’s Best Chili Cook-Off event, held Saturday, April 8.
Event co-organizer Katie Clarkston said the second annual Bullard’s Best Chili Cook-Off event received rave reviews from attendees and members of the Bullard community.
“I think the event was a huge success. I saw smiling faces and heard laughter throughout the entire day,” said Clarkston. “We were given such great feedback from the community. It was a great afternoon for all who were involved in planning the event and all who attended. Hearing people talk and kids laughing is what it is all about. We wanted the event to get bring people together. It was great to see the different age groups that came out to enjoy music, chili, games, vendors and more.”
A total of seven teams from around the Bullard area competed in this year’s event, including the Bullard Rotary Club, Red Hot Hillie Peppers, Bullard Family Dentistry, Hillbilly Chili Committee, Floyd Ellis Insurance, Bullard Fire Department, and the reigning 2016 Bullard’s Best Chili Cook-Off winner, Mike Arriola.
Attendees to the event were able to purchase all-you-can-sample wristbands for $10 each, allowing them the opportunity to taste the competition in two-ounce servings. For those attending the event over the age of 21, the second annual Bullard’s Best Chili Cook-Off also featured beer and wine for sale, courtesy of Bullard’s own Big Mike’s Grillhouse.
Bullard Police Department officer John Hill and his wife, Lindsay, were able to add to their collection of trophies from the event, taking home the first place trophy and $500 cash for their chili this year. At the inaugural event in 2016, the Hills took home second place and the People’s Choice award.
“We had a blast doing the chili cook-off,” said Lindsay Hill. “John and I have always enjoyed cooking together. We feel so honored and humbled by receiving first place this year. We were up against some great competition and all the teams were so much fun to cook with. We love our great town of Bullard.”
The team of Magin LaGrave and Joseph George, representing the Bullard Rotary Club, were voted as People’s Choice award winners, receiving a trophy and $250 cash. Likewise, the Hillbilly Chili Committee team of Alex Withers, Sharie Withers, Ashley Myrick, and Dillon Myrick took home the Showmanship Award trophy and $150 cash.
Judges for the event this year included Bullard City Manager Jay Abercrombie, Woodmen Life representative Chris Green, BACC representative Kathi McCabe, and Tyler’s The Diner owner Lloyd Nichols.
After the results for the cook-off were announced, attendees were treated to a performance of several well-known country songs by 105.7FM KYKX Taste of Country Nights host Chris Wayne, emceed by 104.1FM The Ranch radio host Charlie O’.
“Chris Wayne was a great performer and super talented. I loved the way he interacted with the crowd and kept the energy up, said Clarkston. “He and Charlie O’ both did a fantastic job entertaining and interacting with our Bullard community. Charlie O’ was able to draw attention to several events throughout the day, including the tug of war, chili tasting, and vendors. This helped people get involved and interact with each other all day long.”
For the event’s future, Clarkston said BACC would like the event to continue to grow, in terms of participation and attendance.
“We hope to see the event grow with more vendors and Chili Cook off Teams, as well as increasing number of attendees,” said Clarkston. “This year was a great follow up to last year’s events and I believe that people will start to really flock to this event and continue the tradition of hosting the Bullard’s Best Chili Cook-off for years to come.”
Profits made by BACC at the event will benefit the organization’s annual Red, White and Blue Festival, to be held Saturday, Nov. 4, in downtown Bullard.
Sponsors for the second annual Bullard’s Best Chili Cook-Off event included Bullard Family Dentistry, Republic Services, Big Mike’s Grillhouse, Capps-Capco Construction Inc., City of Bullard, WRL General Contractors, Austin Bank, The Big Rusty Horse, State Farm – Tom McDonald, Coburn’s Kitchen and Bath Showroom, Bullard Banner News, Brookshire’s, SERVPro of Tyler, Heritage Land Bank, and The Brook Hill School.