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CHILI COOK OFF

Robert Leach, who won Judges Choice for his chili, once again competed against his daughter Marcy Muro. (The Pilot/Kurt Madar).
Robert Leach, who won Judges Choice for his chili, once again competed against his daughter Marcy Muro. (The Pilot/Kurt Madar).

What's hot, comes in a plastic cup, and everyone has a recipe? Chili.

Robert Leach of Brookings won the 11th annual "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" Community Chili Cook Off Friday in the Judge's Choice category with his "Bob's Big Bowl Of Red" chili.

"I feel really good about winning." Leach said. "That makes it three years in a row. I won last year, and won the People's Choice the year before."

Leach was hesitant about giving out his award winning recipe, but decided that only one ingredient was truly secret.

"I mix all the powders myself," Leach said. "It only takes a day to cook and I use tritip sirloin instead of ground beef."

Leach also uses pinto beans and New Mexico and California chile powders.

"Normally I don't put beans in my chili," Leach said. "But I think people expect it for the cookoff. Its a good filler too. I made 5 gallons."

Dori Blodgett won first place in the people's choice category with her "Bloody Mary's Chili."

"I've been in this contest for about five years," Blodgett said. "It took two days of cooking."

This was Blodgett's first year of making her "Bloody Mary's Chili."

Blodgett, who is the children's librarian at the Chetco Community Public Library, wanted to make sure that people knew that she got her recipe "from a book."

The boardwalk at the Port of Brookings Harbor's Chetco Village On the Water was packed with chili enthusiasts who would probably like to know what book.

"I got it from a book called ‘Real Stew' by Clifford Wright, which has over 300 hundred recipes," Blodgett said.

The book is available at the Chetco Public Community Library.

To the music of The Book Dock Band, an eclectic mix of musicians and instruments that plays old favorites such as the "Saints Go Marching In," eight local chili specialists served between 5 and 8 gallons of chili in hopes of bringing home a win in at least one of the two categories.

Blodgett won second place and Patra Brazil won third place in the Judge's Choice category. Brazil also won second place in the People's Choice category with the Curry County Veteran's of Foreign Wars Post 966 Ladies Auxiliary taking third.

The judges were Chef Don Tilton, Leanne McCurley of the Chetco Pelican Players, and KURY Radio's Kevin Bane.

The chili cookoff is organized by Pat Silveria of Slugs 'N Stones 'N Ice Cream Cones as a fundraiser for Oasis Shelter Home, an emergency shelter serving victims of domestic violence and sexual violence in Curry County.

Chili enthusiasts donated $3 for their own plastic cup and the chance to sample the eight entries.

Last year the chili cookoff raised a total of $2,855 for the Oasis Shelter Home: $1,855 from the cookoff and a donation of $1,000 from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

"This is a great fundraiser for the Oasis Shelter Home," Silveria said. "I only wish we could have had more cooks this year. A couple of our regulars had to take this year off."

One of those regulars still managed to be there to taste this year's entries.

"I've won it seven times in the 11 years that its been held," Mac Mazzettia said.

Mazzettia's chili is made with seven kinds of meat, has no beans and takes three days to cook.

"They always ask me, ‘you got beans in there?' I just tell them no," Mazzettia said.

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