Ryan Rogers Chili Cook-Off Draws Near

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Last year's chili cook off winners included, from left: third place Megan Young, second place David Cagle and first place winner, Farron Young.(courtesy photo)

Ignore Punxsutawney Phil, who appeared, saw his shadow, and forecast six more weeks of wintery weather. Beware Beauregard Lee, of Atlanta, who suggested an early spring. Mother Nature baffles even Ryan Vaughan, of Region 8 News-- but no one in Clay County is baffled about where the fun will be on the last Saturday of February.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, folks will congregate at the Rector Community Center at 6 p.m. for the annual tribute to the late Ryan Rogers by enjoying the festive event named in his memory. The occasion is the annual Ryan Rogers Memorial Chili, Jambalaya and Soup Cook-Off and Supper and entries are still being accepted.

Past winners of the event will be on hand to defend their titles and the competition is expected to be up to the usual delicious standards. On the line for the competitors are reputations, trophies and prize money.

The event is held each year as a fundraiser by the Rector Community Center Committee, and they receive community-wide donations to offset the expenses. As a result, organizers still only charge a nominal $5 per person at the door for plenty of chili, jambalaya and soup. In addition, all the condiments are furnished along with soft drinks, water, coffee and delicious home-made desserts.

"In an effort to save families money, we're charging a maximum of $20 for all the immediate members of a family to eat," an organizer explained.

Contestants are also still being recruited, and those interested should contact Linda Robinson at the Rector City Hall (870-595-3035) to reserve a spot in the competition. There is an entry fee of $25 per category, and the fee serves to fund the prize money for all winners. Competitors may enter as many categories as they wish at $25 each.

"Each year a new set of judges evaluates each entry based on selected categories in a blind taste test. Points are totaled and the winners declared," the spokesperson added. "Judging begins around 5 p.m. and is concluded not long after the doors open to the public at 6."

Event organizers have also continued to work hard to bring excitement to the event, and once again this year a People's Choice trophy will be awarded. The Community Center Committee will also hold a drawing for a cash door prize from among those attending, but you must be present to win.

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