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PHD a double winner at Chamber’s third chili cook-off

PHD Realty took first place and won the People’s Choice Award in the Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Chili Cook-Off. Members of the winning team are, from left, Patty Helton Davis, Taylor Lee holding Maggie Scott, Bub Gideons, and Austin Lee holding Ella Kate.

Despite the aroma of 11 different chili pots (each containing a “secret recipe”) and a healthy preview of early Spring weather, Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s third annual chili cook-off drew only about half as many people as did last year’s event, when less than 100 paid to taste the spicy wares.

According to a Chamber volunteer, “maybe 40” people made their way to Heritage Park on Saturday (February 17) and paid to sample the pepper-laden creations, which ran the gamut from mild to blistering hot.

The cook-off took place on a day that featured mostly sunny skies, light breezes and unseasonably warm temperatures of near-80 degrees. A member of one of the cooking teams mused that the day might have been too nice for such a competition, pointing out that: “Chili is really a cold-weather food, and it’s not exactly cold today.”

The special recipe brewed by PHD Realty’s team was a double winner. The company’s concoction was selected as overall winner after a blind taste test by a panel of independent judges. It also copped the People’s Choice award, which was based on ticket stubs (representing one vote each) left with the various teams by the folks who sampled the preparations of all or some of the 11 different cooking crews.

Atmore Community Hospital’s “Choo Choo Chili” took second place, and the Tex-Mex recipe whipped up by The Outlaws team, headed up by Walt Smith, was third.

The low attendance had most of the teams offering bowls of chili to anyone who would take them.

When the cook-off ended around 6 p.m., several cooking pots that were far from empty were loaded onto trucks and trailers along with propane tanks, tents, chairs and booth decorations. The surplus was in bright contrast to last year, when a couple of teams ran out of chili before the event ended.

Second place – ACH Williams Station Choo Choo Chili Masters, Atmore Community Hospital – From left, Robbie Cale, Kim Himes, Jessica Black, Secily Carter, Morgan Roberts, Tara Carter, David Carter.
Third place – The Outlaws – From left, Howard Byrd, Jennifer Parker, Walt Smith, Mary Giadrosich, Robbie Giadrosich
AllState – Bill Wasden, left, and Mike Stacey
Stew Live – Josh Coon, Jared Carlton, Bailey Jones, Cody Black, Landon Rodgers, Natalie Rodgers, Zach Brooks, Mark Rodgers, Chase McGhee
First National Bank & Trust – front, Laney Saucer, Andrea Saucer, Macey Eicher, Peggy Phillips, Valarie Middleton; back, Greg Davis, Jocelyn Drew, Toby Short, Chris Short, Stephen Van Pelt, Wanda Hall.
Just Chilin’ – from left, front, SanEtta Jaye, Hope Lassiter, Jennifer White; back, Robbie Jaye, Shawn Lassiter, Tommy White.
Lee Vet – from left, Brittney Templeton, Leith Anne Roley, Berry Nall, Hank Lee
United Bank – from left, Dawn Skipper, Leslie Henderson, Jeff Keenum, Emilee Waters
Lions Club – Bryce McKinnon, Zac Giger
Pepsi – David Strawbridge, left, and Joe Hubbard
News photos by Ditto Gorme