TALKING TROUT: Chili Cook Off is more than chili, music and fun

 

Whether you like chili that sends you screaming for water or something a bit more tame and savory, the 14th annual Trout Unlimited Chili Cook Off will have something for everyone Saturday.

So far, Trout Unlimited President Ronny Cooper says the organization is on track to have 100 teams competing for the best recipe.

The gates at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome will open 10:30 a.m. for the cook off. General admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children. Toddlers get in free.

“We already have as many sponsors as we had last year,” Cooper said previously.

With sponsors, admission and registration fees, Trout Unlimited is able to use this event as their chief annual fundraiser. Registration is $40 for cooking teams of as many as four team members. General admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children. Toddlers are admitted free.

Trout Unlimited’s yearly event raises money for a number of different programs, including endowments at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry for scholarships; the Arrowhead Environmental Center; the Coosa River Basin Initiative; and local, state and national projects to restore cold water streams.

Cooper also said Trout Unlimited would be helping out at the new ECO Center Museum at Ridge Ferry Park when it is finished.

During the cook off, teams will be competing for votes from the public for People’s Choice for the best chili and the Best Cook Site. The top five in both categories will be announced during the 2:30 p.m. awards ceremony and awarded trophies.

The top three Judge’s Choice Award winners will get $500 for first, $300 for second and $150 for third.

Though the deadline for registration was last Saturday, Cooper said he was still receiving registrations in the mail for teams wishing to have their best recipes put to the taste test.

The first cook off was in 1995, when 14 teams competed for the title of “chili champ.”

IF YOU GO

What: 14th annual Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited Chili Cook Off

When: Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Where: Ridge Ferry Park, 417 Riverside Parkway

Cost: $5 for adults, $2 for children, free for toddlers

For more information visit Trout Unlimited at www.coosavalleytu.org.