News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 11, 2011

VIDEO: Tasty samples abound at annual Altrusa Chili Cook-Off

TERRE HAUTE — Blues music played in the background as crowds sampled chili for charity in the Clabber Girl Festival Marketplace.

The annual Altrusa Chili Cook-Off kicked off at 11 a.m., coming to a boil by 4 p.m. when winners were declared. Participants streaming through the area could taste chili from any of the 30 teams for a donation, with all proceeds going to the cause of literacy.

Heather Miklozek, Altrusa president, said the crowd was strong all day.

“I’d say at least 2,000 people,” she said of those buying samples.

The 15th and Hulman band was jamming in the parking lots, surrounded by pop-up tents, tables and crockpots. Wearing tie-dyed T-shirts while playing amid the crowd, they belted out a medley of Alabama songs as well as John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

Miklozek said the group supports literacy programs ranging from “Mother Goose on the Loose” to GED classes and scholarship offerings.

Club member Katie Jenkins said she was impressed with the diversity of competing teams, members of which brought a wide range of chilis. The group hoped to raise $15,000 Saturday, and both Jenkins and Miklozek said they felt that was going to be achieved.

Associated Psychologists was among those competing in the corporate division with its “Touchdown Chili,” which ended up winning People’s Choice for the category.

“You have to be crazy not to try it,” counselor Margaret Bourne joked from her stand.

The Made-In-A-Keg Chili team won People’s Choice in the Individual Category, with the Three Pirates Chili team winning the Showmanship Award for that division. Heritage Trails Apartments won the Showmanship Award for the Corporate Division. The Master Gardeners Club won the prize for Hottest Chili among the Corporate Division and Curt Jones took that prize, along with Best Overall, in the Individual Division.

Chances for Indiana Youth won Best Overall in the Corporate Division, and executive director Brandon Halleck said its “tequila chili” was tough to beat. Whether or not tequila was used in the recipe remains a mystery though, he said.

“I don’t know. I just stirred,” he laughed.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or

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