Community

This weekend: Chili Cook-Off marks 31st year in Rhame

After three decades, two main contributors to the Waterhole Bar’s annual chili cook-off said farewell last year.

By Bryce Martin | Pioneer Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

Who knew a chili cook-off could be so much fun? Rhame did.

After three decades, two main contributors to the Waterhole Bar’s annual chili cook-off said farewell last year.

The cook-off, to be held beginning at noon Saturday at the Van Jones American Legion Hall in Rhame, presents the small community each year with a chance for cooks from around Bowman County to show off their skills and to socialize with friends and acquaintances. It also spurs a fun yet fierce competition, all in an effort to raise funds for the Rhame Community Club.

At last year's Chili Cook Off in Rhame the competition was fierce. (File Photo by Bryce Martin | Pioneer)
At last year’s Chili Cook Off in Rhame the competition was fierce. (File Photo by Bryce Martin | Pioneer)

For the last 30 years, the contest’s ruling body, the International Chili Society, banned the use of beans. It was quite the big deal as most of the contestants preferred to add the traditional chili element to their recipes.

Longtime Waterhole Bar owners Steve Pfau and Carolynne Jones, who sponsored the event for 30 years, said last year they were ready to pass the torch to another local organization in hopes of keeping their legacy cook-off a reality in Rhame.

The Rhame Community Club accepted the challenge beginning this year.

Unique to Rhame’s cook-off are the decorations each team uses to standout. Some of the themes last year included The Addams Family, “Spice Girls”, gnomes, and cheetah attire.

In a teary sendoff, 30-year chili contest coordinator Verlee Snyder gave her own farewell as she ended her cook-off tenure last year – making Rhame’s 2014 competition her last.

Snyder, of Bismarck, coordinated chili cook-offs throughout the state, but she said Rhame’s cook-off remained her favorite.

“I love to do this one because they decorate and they have fun,” she said. “It’s fun for them and for me.”

Snyder joked that last year she should have been a contestant, noting with a laugh that she had been honing her chili-making skills by watching Martha Stewart on television.

The cook-off will begin at noon, with a Calcutta at 2:30 p.m. and a Shoot-and-Holler Contest at 3 p.m.