Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili Cook Off

Pull on your cowboy boots and get ready to make (or just eat) your most delectable chili for the first ever-annual Rootin' Tootin' Chili Cook-off, this Saturday, March 9.

Organized by the St. George Men's Group based in Guilford in partnership with the Madison and Guilford foundations, the fun and friendly competition will benefit both towns' food banks and runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy School.

As this is the first year for the cook off, James Mancini of the St. George Men's Group is hoping for a large crowd-both to cook and even more to sample.

"We're hoping to get between 20 and 40 cooks," said Mancini, who noted that the set-up is a little less formal than some stalwart chili chefs may have come to expect. "This isn't a sanctioned chili cook off-it's more of a fun cook off."

Cooks of all experience levels are invited to participate in the contest, with a $25 entry fee to compete. First-place winner will earn $200 and second-place gets $100. Judges include Guilford First Selectman Joseph Mazza and Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson.

Because the cook-off is cowboy-themed, a Showman's Award will also be given to the cook who best displays the theme. Residents who pop in to taste the different chilis will also have the opportunity to cast their votes.

"We'll have a People's Choice award...People can put quarters in for the [chilis] they like," Mancini explained.

Cooks must bring a minimum of four gallons of their finest chili, ready to serve. Two servers, a head cook and an assistant, are required per entry. Teams must supply their own cooking utensils and heating equipment, including a chafing dish, Sterno, stirring spoons, and a small ladle.

Those interested will not only be able to taste homemade chili, but also get to enjoy live entertainment from The Shiny Lapel Trio.

Residents interested in attending, supporting the two local food banks, and sampling some chili will have an $8 admission price per person or a $20 price for family or group of three or more. Those younger than five and older than 70 enter for free.

Cooks are encouraged to arrive after 10 a.m., with tables prepared at by 12:30 p.m. Winners will be announced at 4 p.m.

For more information or to participate, visit or contact Mancini at


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