Just in time for football season, when thoughts begin to turn to cold-weather recipes that warm the soul, Hoover residents can sample the best of the state’s best – chili, that is. The 2013 Alabama State Open Chili Championship is happening Sunday, Sept. 22, at Aldridge Gardens.
“This is the state of Alabama championship for CASI, which stands for Chili Appreciation Society International,” said event chair Bill Heslop. “We stand for chili, charity and fun, and as an organization, we accomplish that through more than 125 cook-offs each year. The events are in places you’d likely expect, and a lot of places you probably wouldn’t – like China, Mexico, even the Virgin Islands.”
This is the second consecutive year the Gardens have hosted the Alabama CASI State Open Championship. It is also the beneficiary of all proceeds raised from the event, primarily via competitor entrant fees. The event itself, which in the past has drawn participants from all over Alabama as well as Georgia and Tennessee, is open to the public, and admission is free.
Anyone interested in participating may sign up by paying a $25 entry fee and agreeing to follow the CASI rules as they relate to the cook-off. Those who wish to try their hand at competitive chili cooking can register up to 10 a.m. the day of the event by contacting Heslop or Aldridge Gardens.
“Another fun aspect of our competition is the chance to qualify for an invitation to compete in the Terlingua International Chili Championship, held in Terlingua, Texas, on Nov. 12, 2013,” Heslop said. “Last year, Hoover’s own Brent Dupuy won the Alabama CASI State Open, which guaranteed him a spot in Terlingua. We actually send the top three finishing Alabama residents to the event.”
Heslop added that Dupuy’s win was all the more significant since this was only his second time to cook chili competitively.
“The openness of this invite is what helps set it apart,” said Heslop. “I encourage anyone who wants to give it a try to do so. Regardless of the competition outcome, you will have a great time.”
In addition to the CASI challenge, the event includes a home-style chili cook-off. Home-style chili will be available for public tasting from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. No rules or entry fees apply to this particular contest. Entrants can make chili the way they like it and then allow the public to taste-test and vote for their favorite. An award will be presented to the winner.
2013 Alabama State Open Chili Championship
Sponsored by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI)
Sunday, Sept. 22
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.