As a result of the lower attendance, the 16th annual Chili Cookoff at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk raised only $1,005 for Oasis Shelter Home in Gold Beach, down from $1,334, in 2012, which was below the $1,456 raised the year before that.
The total was before some of the contestants donated their winnings. The employees at Slugs ’N’ Stones ’N’ Ice Cream Cones also donated their tips for the month of June, which added another $580.
In addition, the event raised $65 in entry fees from the 13 contestants. However, one dropped out, leaving only 12 serving chili. Also, Dori Blodgett, who challenged many people to the contest, chose to spend the day with her newborn grandson rather than serve chili this year.
Judges Mac Mazzettia, Kevin Bane and Tina Erwin tasted the dozen entries and picked entry 88, a chili entered by Shannon Warner for first place.
Last year Warner did not make enough chili; she was not able to present a good sample for the judges, nor was she able to serve enough to get the attention of the guests for the People’s Choice. The result was a third-place ribbon and only word-of-mouth recognition from those attending.
Lesson learned: This year Warner made enough of the same chili she served the previous year. With a better sample for the judges, she walked away with the top prize.
New this year, Pat Piper from The Book Dock donated a prize for a People’s Choice Runner-up, which was won by Warner.
Serving chili next to Warner was Mike Whitman (entry 93) who also presented a chili similar to what he served last year and, once again, was the winner of the People’s Choice prize.
Winning the second-place prize from the judges was Sara Teirheimer (entry 33), also a cookoff alumna who found a recipe from a cookbook and “improved upon it,” she said.
Third place was awarded to Al Pearson (entry 25) who found a recipe on the Internet. He said the recipe was from a woman known as “The Chili Lady” who lived from 1840 to 1933. She was known for making chili and taking it to the soldiers at The Alamo in San Antonio. Pearson claimed what he served was the same recipe.
This was Pearson’s first time in the competition. Other first-timers included Jennifer Doolittle, Beverly Duncan and Diana Stein.
Returning cooks participating were Cindy Golding, Meiko O’Campo and her mother Marlene Blom, Paulie Hawthorne, Jim Burden and Jennifer White.
All of the contestants won praise from John Alexander, a former chili contestant and legal expert on domestic violence, when he gave a talk about the purpose of Oasis Shelter Home.
Alexander spoke of the words inscribed underneath the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, “Give me your tired your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teaming shore, send me the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door.”
Alexander said, “Our most famous Golden Door may be found with that Lady at Ellis Island, but none shines more brightly or more committed than the one in Gold Beach at the Oasis Shelter Home, who you are blessing with your contributions here today.”
With those words, Alexander honored the chefs, the employees of Slugs ’N’ Stones ’N’ Ice Cream Cones and their boss, Pat Silveria, “a personal hero of mine, who year in and year out … puts this event on,” and Oasis Shelter Director Lea Seavey and her staff Janae Crosson and Tana Miller “who keep that Golden Door open to the victims.”