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Chili cook-off raises money for Kiwanis Family House

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On Sunday, members of the Kiwanis Family House and the International Chili Society brought their best bowls of chili to the Kiwanis Chili Cook-off at The West Sacramento Moose Family Center on Jefferson Blvd.

While the judges were inside the center tasting various kinds of salsas and Chile Verde, the participating cooks began chopping up onions, and adding meat to their pots of chili.

Both the Kiwanis and ICS members were given one hour of prep time and three hours to cook their chili before the judging began at 3 p.m.

The chili cook-off consisted of two challenges: the Kiwanis Chili Challenge and the International Chili Society Regional Chili Cook-off.

The ICS regional chili cook-off had a total of 20 participants who competed in three categories: best salsa, best Chile Verde and the ICS Red (Texas style chili).

The Kiwanis members of the East Sacramento-Midtown club sponsored the event that was made up of eight contestants.

The Kiwanis Family House is a nonprofit organization that provides housing to families that have ill children or adult family members who are being treated at the University of California, Davis, medical center.

Development Manager of the East Sacramento-Midtown Kiwanis Family House Gary Christensen said the profits from the event will stem from the $10 donations from the community to taste the chili and the ICS member’s registration fee, who participate in the regional cook-off.

Together, both organizations helped to raise a total of $2,500 for the Kiwanis Family House.

“We’ve had over 20,000 families come stay at The Kiwanis House since 1984,” Christensen said.

Christensen added the proceeds from the event will go to families who cannot afford to pay the $40 rent per day, which is required of families that want to stay at the Kiwanis Family House.

“The winner gets bragging rights for a whole year and a banner,” said Kiwanis Family House member and competitor Leslie Merker.

Heather Schiltz, who lives in the suburbs of Sacramento, won by popular vote for the best-cooked chili.

“This is the first time I’ve done this type of event, so it’s cool,” Schiltz said.

Vice President of the Board of Directors, at the Kiwanis Family House in Citrus Heights Bill Hooper said he has been working with the Kiwanis Family House for 33 years and was satisfied with the outcome of the event.

“I enjoyed tasting all the different chilis, the fellowship and working for such a great cause,” Hooper said. “With the bad economy, families really need us.”

In addition to both chili challenges, the event featured a live band, Last Call, and a raffle by the Kiwanis Club.

Vendors such as the Salt City Candle Company and Baja Mariner were stationed across from the chili competitors.

“When you dine with people, you become friends. When you cook with people, you become family,” said Bobby Brown, who was at the event selling his Baja Mariner seafood and vegetable dip.

“I’m having a great time and having fun tasting all the chili,” said Nikki Shepard, 40, who lives in Elk Grove.

David Hipskind, who was a participant of the ICS challenge, said the first-place winners will go to the world champion ICS cook-off.

Hipskind has been a member for of the ICS for 30 years and said he uses only the freshest ingredients for his chili.

“My wife and I have developed the recipe so it’s a proven winner,” Hipskind said.

There were 12 judges for the ICS chili cook-off.

“The ICS is very consistent with their chili making. With the community, you’ll get everything from chili to spaghetti,” said Steve Boldenweck, who participated as a judge in the cook-off.

Boldenweck said the Kiwanis Club community is not required to follow the same rules as the ICS in their chili making.

The ICS cannot use beans in their chili only meat and the ingredients used to make their sauce.

The Kiwanis community cooks are allowed to add anything from black beans to sausage links to their chili.

Boldenweck added that as a judge he likes to go by T.A.C.A, which means to judge based on taste, aroma, consistency and appearance.

Steve McIntire has been nominated for president elect at the East Sacramento-Midtown Kiwanis club and joined about a year ago.

Before the event ended, McIntire gathered everyone outside of the lodge to announce the winners.

Bobby Santos, who lives in East Sacramento, won for best salsa.

“It feels great to have won,” Santos said.

Lynn Robinson, who is a member of ICS and lives in Lincoln, won for best chili Verde.

“This is awesome, we’re going to the world championship!” Robinson said.

The winner of the red chili was Steve Atkinson, who resides in Reno.

“I was really shocked there were a lot of good chilis out there,” Atkinson said.

“When I heard about the Kiwanis house, it became a passionate thing for me,” McIntire said.

McIntire has been a member of the ICS for 20 years.

He brought the idea of the cook-off to the board of the Kiwanis Family House and plans on making this an annual event.

“The family house needs the money to operate. Since I became aware of the family house, I wanted to help them,” McIntire said. “We’re using the chili as a vehicle to raise money for the family house.”

“If we have it again here next year, it will be twice as good,” said director of the West Sacramento Kiwanis Family House, Mauda Butte.

“The family house touches a lot of people,” Butte said.

For more information on future events held by The Kiwanis Family House visit their website. www.kiwanisfamilyhouse.org


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