The weather might have been warm, but the competition was absolutely hotter at the Lone Star State Chili Cook-off, which took place last weekend in Azle, Texas. After not hosting a cook-off in Texas for over three years, the International Chili Society (ICS) was back in action with almost 30 cooks from nine different states. They gathered for fun, spirited competition and cash prizes, as well as a team spot at the 55th Annual World Championship Chili Cook-off in 2022.
This cook-off was a significant milestone not only for ICS but for the sport of chili as a whole. In addition to all three major chili organizations–– ICS, Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), and the Tolbert Chili Organization–– being represented at this cook-off, each organization had a first place category winner.
Official Lone Star State Chili Cook-off Results:
1st Place Homestyle: Larry Walton (Tolbert)
1st Place Red: Jason Willis (ICS)
1st Place Verde: Mack Walker (CASI)
"I think it's a great sign for our entire chili industry to see all three major sanctioning bodies to work so well together at an event like this," commented ICS President Mike McCloud. "We will be looking for more opportunities to do this in 2022 and beyond."
ICS cook-offs focus on community and charity just as much as they do chili, and the Lone Star State Chili Cook-off was no exception. All of the leftover gallons of chili were donated to the local homeless shelter immediately after the cook-off so the residents could enjoy the chili while it was still hot. On top of that, over $2,000 was raised to help people with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is a genetic disorder that starts in the central nervous system and affects all of the muscles in the body.
“The money raised was a massive win-win for the cooks, the charity, the shelter, and ICS,” said Henry Stephens, ICS veteran and organizer of the Lone Star State Chili Cook-off. “This was a special and historical cook-off. Thank you to all of the people who helped make this event successful, including ICS, Papo Joe’s Grill Supply, Kim Eckley (chief scorekeeper), CASI, Tolbert’s and all competitors and judges who traveled, near and far.”
After the success of this chili cook-off, event organizers are currently in discussions to host another ICS cook-off in the spring, bring back the Lone Star Chili Cook-off in fall of 2022 and launch a series of new cook-offs throughout Texas in 2023.
About the International Chili Society
Legendary race car driver and automotive icon Carroll Shelby started the International Chili Society in 1967 as a fun way to compete against his friends. Today, ICS sanctions more than 100 events a year nationwide with one mission – to continuously celebrate chili while raising money for charities and nonprofits. More than $100 million has been raised for charities by ICS over the past five decades. To celebrate each year’s pro-chili season, ICS holds a World Chili Championship Cook-off (WCCC) and crowns World Champions in key categories. To see previous winners, click here.