On Sunday, Sept. 22nd, AGWA-IL Chapter H held their 4th Annual Chili
Cook Off at Lions Park in Elburn IL. Although it rained the night
before and the day started out cloudy with a cold West wind, over 40 members
and friends of AGWA attended the event. As the day progressed, the
sun came out and it warmed up a bit (we're not sure if the warming effect
was due to the sunshine or the cumulative effect of 8 different types of
chili!). The event was held earlier this year than in previous years,
so that we could avoid the onslaught of Chinese beetles (a.k.a. wannabe
ladybugs) that usually accompany this event. Well, the good news
is we didn't have the beetles - the bad news is they were replaced by bees!
Good ole Joel Gyurnek (our "official" beetle vacuumer from past cook offs)
sized up the situation and immediately "swung" into action and became our
"official" bee swatter this year (he didn't even get stung!).
After everything got set up (thanks to a crew consisting of Analea & Ken Archibald, Sue & Kelly Hanus, Bev Markward, Joel Gyurnek, Joe Hughes, Russ Prichard & Jo Ann Scalpone - I apologize if I missed anyone!), the tasting/feasting began. As in past years, we judged the chili in three categories: Spiciest, Most Unique and Best Overall. After all stomachs were full, the votes were tallied. This year, the hands-down winner in the Spiciest category was Russ Prichard's daughter-in-law, Geordia. Most Unique honors went to Chapter H's Linda Francis, and once again, Best Overall was won by Chapter H's Analea Archibald. It was tough to pick winners as all entries were delicious!
The 50-50 this year was won by Russ Prichard's daughter, Tracy (I guess Russ decided to "keep it in the family" this year!).
Then came the event that has been talked about and anticipated since last year's cook off - the Annual Chapter H World Champion Horse Shoe Pitching Contest. Ever since last year when our "Unruly Rep" Dick Scalpone's team beat Les Chapman's team by pitching two leaners, Les has been practicing and working out every day. When the big day arrived, Les decided to give his team an "international flavor" and chose Joe Hughes as his team mate, forsaking and dumping his faithful team mate of many years, Mike Hanus. Rebuffed & on the rebound after being so mercilessly dumped, Mike accepted the offer to team up with the "Unruly Rep", and the battle was on.
The match started with the Chapman Team jumping off to a 6 - 0 lead. This was due in part to the Chapman Team having warmed up by playing a previous match against John Francis and Cary Levin (narrowly defeating them, I might add), while Team Scalpone came in "cold". Team Scalpone narrowed the Chapman Team lead to 2 points, then 1, then tied it at 13! The lead see-sawed back and forth until until Team Scalpone leapt ahead to a commanding 18-16 lead. Team Scalpone briefly smelled victory until those hopes were dashed by Joe Hughes from the Chapman Team tossing a ringer, giving them the lead 19-18! A silence fell over the crowd as the Chapman Team tossed another point and took a 20-18 lead. With the pressure on, Mike Hanus from Team Scalpone tossed a point to close the gap to 20-19, setting the stage for captain Dick Scalpone. You could hear a pin drop as the Unruly Rep stepped into the sand pit and, undaunted by the pressure, coolly threw two points giving Team Scalpone a 21-19 lead!!! There was still a chance for the Chapman Team however, as Les stepped to the line. Obviously affected by the pressure (and the fact that the Bears lost to New Orleans), Les was not able to come close to the stake and Team Scalpone was crowned the 2002 AGWA-IL Chapter H World Horse Shoe Champions! We had to call extra security to keep the jubilant crowds off the field of play.
Subsequent to the heart breaking loss (and a day later), the Chapman Team contested the outcome, citing an obscure rule about "having to win by two" (didn't we go through this with Al Gore a couple of years ago?). Team Scalpone countered this by offering to give Les some horse shoe pitching lessons over the winter, so that he can really learn how to play this game! ( and pose a serious threat come next year!)
All in all, everyone had a good time. AGWA-IL Chapter H would like to thank everyone who came to the event, cooked chili & world class desserts, and helped with the set up and clean up. We hope to see you all again next year!
Pictures can be viewed at:
Mike & Sue Hanus
AGWA-IL Chapter H