The Ninth Annual Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off in Houston on November 7th raised $48,300 for TCMH Hospice of Care. About 300 people participated in the event at the Texas County Fairgrounds and Community Building, sampling 25 different chili recipes.
The Healthcare Foundation sponsors the annual Chili Cook Off to benefit Hospice of Care, and this year 17 cook off teams did their part by raising over $19,000 for the effort.
Members of “The Chili Warriors” from the TCMH Dietary department raised $3389.12 for Hospice of Care.
Five member teams adopted a theme, a team name, and set about raising funds for their team earlier in the year through “casual days” at work, yard sales, raffles, and bake sales.
The cook off teams set up booths according to their team theme on Friday and Saturday morning of the event. Some teams, like Licking United Methodist Church–“Heavenly Chili”–keep the same theme each year, offering up again Dutch oven cooked chili described as ”hotter than hell, but closer to heaven. The TCMH emergency medical services team participates with a different theme each year. This year the “EMS Misfits” dressed as elves from the Island of Misfits in the classic Christmas movie, “Rudolph”.
The TCMH EMS Misfits won the top Judges’ prize for their white, mild chili. They also were the top “TCMH Choice” by hospital employees that voted for their favorite hospital team.
Members of the Houston Schools Administration brought “Restore the Roar” chili to the cook off.
Houston R-1 School, “Restore the Roar” team designed their cook off booth like a parade float, and the school tiger mascot joined in the fun. The Houston Walmart Supercenter “Waverunners” set up a beachside bar to serve up their chili with sunscreen on their noses and floppy hats on their heads.
The Walmart Waverunners took home the 3rd place award for “Team Fundraising” with $2399.90 raised through fundraisers at the Houston Walmart Supercenter.
The team fundraising award was the final prize presented to the chili cook off teams on Saturday, and the “Chili Warriors”, a Native American themed team from the TCMH dietary department, won the top prize by raising $3,389.12.
Ebowla Chili-Team Jayson raised $2959.60 and won 2nd place for “Team Fundraising”. They Ebowla Chili team was organized in memory of Jayson Gentry of Cabool.
“Ebowla Chili-Team Jayson” in memory of Jayson Gentry and representing Cabool State Bank, won the silver medal in team fundraising with a $2,959.60 donation from the team efforts. The Walmart Waverunners raised $2,399.90 to claim the third place spot for team fundraising.
“This event would not be possible without the incredible effort of the chili cook off teams,” Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, said.
Gentry noted that teams helped sell raffle tickets for a rifle, a quilt, and a 4-wheeler that were raffled at the end of the event.
Harold Sullins of Licking won the four-wheeler. Jen Ellis of Dixon won the rifle. Carol Honeywell of Licking won the handmade, queen-size quilt.
Harold Sullins of Licking purchased the winning ticket for the four-wheeler raffled at the cook off. He stands with his wife, Linda, by the ATV.
Three chili judges representing sponsors and supporters of the event were Earleen Holder from Progressive Ozark Bank in Houston; Conway Hawn from Anderson and Hawn Law Firm in Houston, and Bill Senter from Grace Manufacturing in Plato. Prizes were given to the chili teams who were competing in several different categories.
“Judges Choice” and first place went to “TCMH EMS Misfits” for their white, chicken chili. The judges awarded second place to the “Landmark Bank Lumberjacks” who had a white turkey and sausage chili. Third place went to Houston’s Mercy Clinic “Old Country Doc” team for a traditional red chili.
The A-Team Jailbirds served up the winning “Spiciest Chili” from behind bars and included chili dog or Frito pie options. The team also took home the “People’s Choice” award for the day.
Several cook off teams entered a second type of chili in the “spiciest” category. One prize was awarded to the spiciest chili, and it went to “The A-Team” by Air Evac Lifeteam.
All teams had a team name and a theme. First place in the booth decorating category was won again by Community Bank N.A. with “Roaring Chili”, a speakeasy, 1920’s theme complete with flapper girls serving the chili.
Members of the “Roaring Chili” team from Community Bank NA won the award for best decorated booth.
The Houston FBLA constructed the front bow of a pirate ship and served up chili alongside a treasure chest of crackers, cheese and gold coins. The FBLA’s “One-Eyed Chili” won second place in the booth decorating contest.
The Houston Schools FBLA team served homemade chili from their handmade pirate ship. They won 2nd place for Best Decorated Booth at the cook off.
The Air Evac “A-Team” deconstructed an outdoor dog kennel and used it to make a jail. Their inmates and jailer served up mild and spicy chili from behind the bars of the jail winning third place in the booth decorating contest.
Everyone in attendance was given a ballot for the “People’s Choice” in chili. The “A-Team” won first for people’s choice. “Team Spearpoint” won second place for their chili. Dr. Baldwin and the TCMH Medical Complex “Bootie Crew” came in third for people’s choice.
Maura Dill and Andy Durham enjoy chili from the “Ebowla Chili” team.
TCMH employees in attendance were given the opportunity to vote for the “TCMH Choice” among TCMH teams participating in the event. The TCMH EMS Misfits won the hospital employee award—their sixth time to claim the prize in nine years.
Dr. Christopher Baldwin from the TCMH Medical Complex delivered babies at the hospital the morning of the 7th and delivered red and white chili with his “Bootie Crew” at the cook off in the afternoon. They won 3rd place in the “People’s Choice” category.
Silent auctions were followed by a live auction with auctioneer Darren Sheets. Before beginning the live auction at the cook off, Scheets talked about his experience with Hospice of Care.
Scheets explained that many of the area auctions he’s hired to do are preceded by the owner’s death, and many times the owner and the family members have received care through Hospice of Care.
“Hospice has provided care for a lot people in this area,” Sheets said. “They have been there for many.”
Dr. Jonathan Beers, medical director for TCMH Hospice of Care, also spoke to those in attendance prior to the auction.
“Our hospice team is here to provide care for parents, grandparents, sons, daughters. They are here for the whole family,” Beers said.
Beers explained that TCMH Hospice of Care offers services that rival hospice agencies in larger, metropolitan areas.
“I would put our hospice team against any of the other teams out there,” Beers said, thanking everyone for their donations to the local service which uses funds raised by the cook off every year to provide patient care for those without any means to pay for the service.
Sandy Eaton, licensed practical nurse with Hospice of Care and hospice volunteer coordinator, asked everyone to join her in a moment of silence for longtime hospice volunteer, Phyllis Arthur.
Master of ceremonies and KY3 meteorologist, Brandon Beck, gets some assistance in drawing one of the winning raffle tickets.
Brandon Beck, meteorologist at KY3 television station in Springfield and master of ceremonies at the event, interacted with those present, pausing for photos, chili tasting and weather-related jokes.
After Saturday’s event, the cook off raised $36,638 in cash donations and $11,662 in in-kind donations. All the proceeds raised by the Chili Cook Off support Hospice of Care and remain in Texas County to benefit area residents.
Donations came in the form of sponsorships by area businesses for chili teams, corporate and entertainment sponsorships, cash donations, and donations of items for the auctions. Chili teams also raised money prior to the event and at the event. A live auction, silent auctions, raffles and a cakewalk also provided entertainment during the day.
The Healthcare Foundation has a designated “Hospice Fund” where the cook off fund and other donations to Hospice of Care are held.
Plans are underway to hold the tenth annual chili cook off in the fall of 2016. More details about the event will be available from the Healthcare Foundation.
Tim Ceplina of Team Spearpoint serves up a cup of chili. The team’s red chili won 2nd place in the “People’s Choice” category.