Chili cook-off for a cause
Crockpots lined the tables Saturday at the 11th annual Hot Monkey Big Chili Cook-off, ready to offer tasters the best in homemade chili.
The annual cook-off event, held at The Station at Shepherdstown, featured 15 community members offering chilies ranging from traditional flavors, unique twists and spicy heat.
Tantalizing scents drew tasters, equipped with a spoon, napkin and voting ticket, to sample cups of chili. Whether garnished with cheese, accompanied by cornbread or spooned ladled straight from the crockpot, each chili offered something delicious for tasters. The three chilies that received the most tickets were awarded first, second and third place.
The event is a fundraiser for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of 15-year-old Faith Stone, a Shepherdstown resident, who has cystic fibrosis.
“We started doing the walks and having golf tournaments and 5Ks, and I though maybe I could have my own fundraiser. So now I have a chili cook-off every year,” said event organizer Patti Simmons, Stone’s grandmother.
“My daughter said we had to have something striking for the name. We kicked it around and she said Hot Monkey. So now there’s this little red monkey with a crown on it (for a mascot),” Simmons said.
The monkey is featured on every year’s t-shirt, and the flavor ratings for entries are mild, medium or hot monkey. Participants have also embraced the mascot, giving their chilies titles such as “Hot Chunky Monkey” and “White Creamy Monkey.”
Nancy Daughtery, Simmons’ sister, has participated in event since the first year, earning a top three spot five times. Daughtery maintained her winning streak, placing first for the third consecutive year. Daughtery claims her secret is in the ingredients.
“Everything is fresh. I have fresh tomatoes that I peel and cook down. I do all of the peppers fresh. The fresh ingredients make it good, and it’s hot,” Daughtery said.
The second place winner was Matt Shipley and L.D. Shipley, and the third place winner was Trevor Littleton.
The event raised $5,765, more than a $1,000 increase from last year’s event.
“This is the most giving community. Shepherdstown is the place to be. Shepherdstown is wonderful,” Simmons said.
Since 1999, Stone’s family has raised funds through “Team Faith,” by participating in and hosting different fundraisers. To date, Team Faith has raised more than $500,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“It’s important to raise awareness. It’s a good event, and it’s a good time to get together with everybody and have fun while also doing something good,” said Bergan Holbrook, who attended the event to support her boyfriend’s chili entry.