The winners of the annual Elks chili cook-off were both so thrilled they jumped up and down when the winning entries were announced.
“Oh, my God!” exclaimed Tracy Lichacz when she was announced winner from the 10 entries sampled by the three judges.
“I've entered every year. Up until now I didn’t win,” she said.
She declined to share the ingredients calling them “an ancient secret.”
She thanked her husband Mike and her co-workers who taste-tested versions of her chili and told her what they liked and didn’t like.
Winner of the peoples’ choice award, Kelsi Gieni,was also excited.
She has made her chili from the same recipe for years but also declined to share the secret ingredients that won her the plaque.
“Corn maybe,’’ she offered. “Mine was, I think, the only one with corn.”
The tree judges had difficulty choosing a winner based on colour, aroma, taste, flavour and heat.
“They are all different,” said Greg Lawrence.
“This is hard to determine,” said Kelly McElree.
“All of them were good,” said Ron Walter.
Ingredients they were able to isolate by taste included wild game meat and chicken.
Last year’s winner Duane Deis of Regina just made Moose Jaw in time, having been delayed by the snowstorm and a semi accident at Belle Plaine.
About 30 people braved the snow-clogged roads and took part in the chili eating, 50-50 draw and a silent auction at the Legion.
Everybody got a taste of each chili entry and then could have as much of any they wanted.
Several persons planning to attend were snowed in at home.
Ron Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.