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July 15, 2009 > Chili Cook-Off is back!

Chili Cook-Off is back!

By Meenu Gupta

What could be better than cooking chili on a hot summer day? With pots packed with flavor, the perfect recipe for spicy fun is all set to take off. After winning the title of Best Rotary Chili in 2007, Fremont Rotary is back to regain that coveted designation at the 18th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cook-Off this Saturday at the Saddle Rack in Fremont.

Over 30 groups will compete in serious competition for bragging rights to be voted the Best Chili in their category. Chili cooking and tasting will only be a part of the entertainment that day. Antique dealers, arts and crafts vendors, and artisans will add to the festive atmosphere of the cook-off.

A variety of live entertainment will accompany those who visit booths to help digest the results of chili chef ingenuity. Enjoy smokin' rock and roll by the Bell Brothers and Full Throttle bands. Bell brothers Russ and Scott Bell with musicians Jeff Young, Curtis Jin and Gary Tackett will deliver original songs, a blend of energetic country and rock. Radio station 95.7 "The Wolf " will be present the winner of the 2009 Colgate Country Showdown music competition designed to find the most promising country music talent in America.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge will be another attraction to watch. This event, previously held at the Fremont Festival of the Arts, was added to the Chili Cook-Off last year. Competitors wearing "full bunker gear" simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks. These include climbing a five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. "victim" as they race opponents and the clock. A kid's area includes a mini version of the firefighter challenge.

This year's fundraising goal is $25,000 to benefit Tri-City Rotary Clinic, Washington on Wheels, HOPE Project Mobile Clinic and the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Rotary Free Clinic supports testing and prescriptions for persons without health care, Washington On Wheels Mobile Clinic provides outreach health care in our community, HOPE Project Mobile Clinic services homeless people at eight sites in southern and eastern Alameda County and the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation helps children injured in fire accidents.

Over 3000 people are expected to be part of the fun. People's Choice awards will be presented for the best veggie chili and the best meat chili. Judging is determined by those who buy an entry ticket. Each will receive a chili tasting kit with one vote ticket in each kit. Additional kits are $5. Votes are added up at each chili booth and the People's Choice chili winner is chosen. Two additional winners are selected by a panel of judges and three prizes are awarded for the best decorated booths.

Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate. Admission for kids ages six and under is free. The event is sponsored by FUN Rotary, Niles Rotary, Newark Rotary, Fremont Rotary, Mission San Jose Rotary, Warm Springs Rotary and Sunrise Rotary. Those interested in supporting this event should contact Shannon O'Malley at (510) 979-0420 or somalley@thesaddlerack.com.

The Great Rotary Chili Cook-Off
Saturday, July 18
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Saddle Rack
42011 Boscell Road, Fremont
(510) 438-6500
www.FremontChiliCookOff.org

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