Pilot story and photos by Bill Schlichting

It was a close call for the people's favorite clam chowder at Saturday's chowder cookoff, and once again the judges and the people were not in agreement.

The seventh-annual event at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk raised $854 for Oasis Shelter Home.

Although 44 people voted O'Holleran's Restaurant's chowder the best out of 179 votes cast, the judges placed Chef Larry Daniel's New England-style recipe in third place.

It is not known, though, whether the people's choice may have been influenced by a photo of Daniel and his fiance holding fish in a wedding announcement in that day's Pilot. His soon-to-be bride Mary Ashbeck served the chowder.

Daniel was given $50 for the award, which he donated to the women's shelter.

There was no second place in the people's choice, but if there was, it would have been awarded to Smuggler's Cove Restaurant. The chowder served by Mark Mann garnered 43 votes.

A third place people's choice award, with 23 votes, would have gone to Scampi's Fish Wagon, which won the ultimate taste test of the three judges working behind a divider inside Slugs 'n Stones 'n Ice Cream Cones.

The judges were Chef Don Tilton, Leanne McCurley and Les Cohen. Cohen filled in at the last moment because Kevin Bane was ill.

Scampi's Fish Wagon's first place win also was tops in the restaurant division. The chowder recipe will compete in the state competition later this year in Florence.

Larry Nichols received a $50 prize for his first place. He immediately walked over to the Oasis Shelter Home booth to donate his winnings.

Kelly Watterson was given the second-place award by the judges and received 21 votes by the people. Her chowder was served by her daughter, Krista Watterson.

Others participating in the non-restaurant division were Tom Conduracki, Donna Hensley, Antone Dias, Olivia Abbot and Shirley Bates.

Also competing in the restaurant division were Whaleshead Beach Resort and El Faro Viejo.

El Faro Viejo, which is translated andquot;The Old Lighthouse,andquot; was the only out-of-town restaurant. It is in Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California.

Douglas Gotfried, who said he plans to move to Brookings, presented tasters with a seafood bisque.

Entertainment was provided by The Book Dock Band, a group that allows anyone to join.

Kathy Kali, a belly dancer from Grants Pass who had performed for the Shriners in Gold Beach that morning, was passing by when she came across the festival.

Kali joined the band and sang two solos accompanied by Carl Rovainen on banjo.

Also joining the band from out of town was retired physician Michael Mavris from Crescent City. When the band performed a dance song from his homeland, he came off the stage and joined Kali and her partner Susan Phelps, also of Grants Pass, in a spontaneous Greek dance.

Oasis Shelter Home is a refuge for battered women and their children. The home is in Gold Beach.

Two cookoffs are scheduled annually to benefit the shelter. A chili cookoff is scheduled July 4. Cooks interested in becoming a contestant may call Pat Silveria at Slugs 'n Stones 'n Ice Cream Cones at (541) 469-7584.

In addition to donations, Oasis Shelter Home boardmember Nancy McClelland said volunteers are needed to serve on its board of directors.

For information on becoming a board member or to make contributions, contact McClelland or shelter manager Alice Maybee at (541) 247-7600.