I must have told a hundred people at the James River Runners 33rd Annual Chili Cook-Off and Brewers Challenge last Saturday at Hatton’s Ferry that this was my 22nd year as a participant. Where does the time go? For 20 of those years I didn’t compete with the cookers who signed on to help raise money for the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department, but last year (and this one too) I entered myself in the competition. I haven’t won anything (yet), but I have learned how skillful and dedicated the other chili cookers are. I also learned that adding beans to my chili would help, but I’m paleo – plus original chili didn’t have beans, but I’m nit-picking.
The Scottsville Chili Cook-Off used to be this crazy, mad, free-for-all, drunk-fest. I would describe it as Scottsville’s Foxfield without the steeplechase races. It used to be that a lot of people would come down to Hatton’s Ferry, find a place to park and start getting obliterated. Some would never make it to the actual chili. In fact, a lot of the revelers never even knew that there where over 20 different types of chili to sample. The ones who where aware that it was a chili cook-off would eventually wander in with beer in hand, set up their chairs and catch the music too. Those were good times, but also dangerous times. And you and I both know that times change.
Now, it’s more of a family event and they’ve added the “Brewers Challenge” to it as well, so you don’t even have to bring yer own anymore. I hope James River Runners keeps going with this current incarnation because I remember participating one year when I was completely sober (not sure why) and it spooked me how most people where completely out of their minds. Hey, I’ve been-there-done-that, but I’m also maturing (getting old) and like promoting this event.
So, even though there are not as many cookers and attendance is down a little – remember that’s it’s for a good cause, there are saner people there and it’s a beautiful location. For those of you who came out last Saturday; thank you! And it was great hanging out with you!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go to the bathroom. AGAIN!