3rd Annual Newton County Firefighters Christmas for Kids Chili Cookoff

The 3rd Annual Newton County Firefighters Christmas for Kids Chili Cookoff is in the record books. And boy did we set some new records. Stick with me on this journey to find out how.

Every year new additions to the Chili Cookoff make it better than the year before. It’s just a learning curve from year to year on what works and what doesn’t. This year brought about a few changes with the addition of the bounce house, the Johnny Train and cash prizes for the Chili winners.

The bounce house was a huge hit with the kids. And the blogger may or may not have tried her fair share of the bounce house at the beginning. Hey how can you blog about it if you don’t know?

Chloe & Cailee Lake enjoying the Bounce House

The Chili had to be in place by 5pm to be entered in the contest. This year we had 12 Chili entry participants. Thank you for participating!

Judging started at 5:30pm. This year the judges were representatives of the area firefighter departments and emergency response.

This years Judges were:

  • Greg Hickman – Newton County Emergency Management Agency
  • Jake Guernsey – Neosho Fire Department
  • Jeff Prosser – Newton County Ambulance District
  • Manford Vangunda – Seneca Area Fire Protection District
  • Mike Vandergrift – Newton County Ambulance District

And Dan La Due represented Newton County Rescue and Recovery as an alternate in case someone didn’t show up.

Our very own Diver Dan was the alternative Chili judge, but he was also there to over see the judges in case they had any questions.

While the judges were busy doing their thing, the kids were being entertained as well. We had the bounce house, but another new addition to this years festivities was the Johnny Train. Thank you Boomer Baugh for bringing this and toting the kids all around.

While the kids were playing in the bounce house and riding the Johnny Train, the adults were engaged in conversations and a lovely, competitive game of bidding in a silent auction. There were 110 items placed in the silent auction. Jared’s flatbed trailer was filled to the max and we had 2 additional tables full of items to be bid on. Items ranged from blankets, sweatshirts, wreathes, handmade horse shoe items, pliers and so much more as well as baked goods. Hopefully there was a little something for everyone!

Tiffany Hayworth modeling with one of the silent auction items, a repurposed tank lamp.

At 6pm or closely after the judges were finished judging it was time for the rest of us to eat. When we entered we paid a $5 entry fee plus we were given 5 tickets. The tickets were to vote on the People’s Choice Chili Award. Boxes were set up in front of each Chili entered. As you found a chili you wanted to vote for, you placed a ticket in the box.

Originally in the weather forecast there was a chance of rain. Even though the day was mostly cloudy, the skies never let loose and the forecast changed to mostly cloudy. But we were able to witness a BEAUTIFUL sunset.

Around 7:30pm, last call was called and boxes were picked up. Then a team went into the judges room and started counting tickets for each box. Thank you to:

for counting up each ticket for the People’s Choice Vote.

At 8pm the awards were announced.

People’s Choice went to Julia Johannes. People’s Choice received a plaque and a Gray Enameled Cast Iron Crock

3rd Place went to Nicole Willoughby. 3rd place received the plaque and $22. And the big joke of the night was my mom won People’s choice and then when Dan announced that I won 3rd place instead of saying my name he said her daughter. I was caught off guard so naturally I was teased since I’m my mother’s only child and I didn’t know it was me immediately .

2nd place went to Janet Judd. 2nd Place won $33. Janet had left for the evening so her sister Karen Weston accepted in her place.

1st place went to Rachele Lord. 1st place won $55. The last 2 years Rachele has placed but she has had to work so Doug accepted in her place. This year Doug had to work and Rachele was able to attend so they teased her all evening that she wouldn’t place since she was there, but instead she won the whole shebang.

Congraulations to this year’s Chili Cookoff Winners. You are now in the history books with the 2013 winners and the 2014 winners!

The real winners at the end of the evening were the Children in Newton County who will have a better Christmas thanks to the generous donations from all who attended the Chili Cookoff event. This year we were able to raise $3,400.

A special thank you to all those who donated items and time in pulling this event off:

Barb McMurry, Carolyn Johannes, CED Electric, Chet Anderson/Spinning Wheels SK8 Center, Dan & Carlene La Due (Shamrock Bolt & Screw), Danielle La Due (Jamberry/Origami Owl), De Anderson, Doug & Rachele Lord, Extreme Sports Scuba, Grady & Deb Weston, Harriett Miller, Horseshoe Bros (Jared Weston & Mark Willoughby), James Wilson, Janet Judd, Jared & Karen Weston, Jody Payton, Kim Brungard, Kim Fowler, Locke Electric, Logan Wilfong (Federated Insurance), Manford & Dana Vangunda, Margaret Maynard, Mariam Vandergrift, Mark & Nicole Willoughby, Marlin Willoughby, Michelle Weston, Nick & Julia Johannes, Nicole Willoughby Photography, Paula Lawless, Photography by Dana, Shirley Mann, Southern Uniform, Steve Weston, U-Do We-Do Laundry, White’s Equine Tack & Feed. (If I forgot to add someone, please let me know and they will be added!)

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