More than 50 cook sites will contribute to the aroma of a multitude of chili recipes wafting through the air at Ridge Ferry Park on Saturday as part of the 24th Annual Trout Unlimited Chili Cook Off.
This weekend’s weather should be about as perfect anyone could ask for as almost every weather forecast I have seen is promising clear, sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-70s. Entry is only $5 for everyone five years old or older. Since my last article an additional six sites have been reserved for teams.
I must speak of my last article as I stated incorrectly the grand prize amount. The prizes for judging are $1,500 for the grand prize, $750 for second place and $500 for third. The prize money for first place is still three times larger than ever before and should make the winning team extremely happy.
A few folks have asked me, “Why do you have a cook off?” The answer is twofold.
The cook off was conceived as a way to fund the Coosa Valley TU chapter’s day-to-day operations and allow us to support the various projects that the chapter has taken on in trout streams in Northwest Georgia and continue our chapter’s financial support of educational entities.
The Cook off was also envisioned as a method of making the public aware of what Trout Unlimited does and hopefully sign up some new members in doing so.
Many of the anglers in the area are aware of the streams that the Coosa Valley chapter has worked on. For those readers that do not know, Mountain Town, Rock Creek, Raccoon Creek and Johns Creek have been visited by members of TU accompanied by The US Forest Service. Although we have done trash clean-ups on all the streams, the primary work has been on habitat enhancement and stream side stabilization, as well as building of stocking tubes which allow the stocking trucks to easily spread out the hatchery raised trout in the streams.
Many hundreds of structures have been placed in streams to improve spawning areas and add cover to help trout escape predators. Several work days were spent building designated camping and parking areas to further decrease encroachment on trout habitats.
The Coosa Valley chapter created — with the help of the Oconee River chapter — a cold water fisheries endowment at the Warnell School of Forestry at the University of Georgia. This endowment is for graduate students in the cold water studies at the university. A second endowment was started to fund resource grants for students who needed help with funding research projects.
Our chapter also has supported the Arrowhead Environmental Education Center on Floyd Springs Road in Floyd County since the center first opened. TU is the primary supporter of the operational needs of Arrowhead, helping with things such as materials and supplies that are needed for the education of thousands of school kids that have visited.
The Coosa Chapter has also supported the Rome-Floyd River Education ECO Center at Ridge Ferry Park. The ECO Center is the regular location of the chapters’ meetings and the Trout Expo, which happens each February.
There are bound to be many great chilies this weekend for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Remember when you pay for entry to the cook off you are supposed to get a people’s choice ballot so you can vote for your favorite chili. Make sure the person who sells you the ticket gives you a ballot.
Come to Ridge Ferry Park this Saturday and be part of the oldest outdoor cooking event in North Georgia. Gates open to the public at 10 a.m. Where else can someone have all they can eat for only five dollars and at the same time support all the goals and projects of the Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited?
We need your support and we will still be accepting new cook teams this week. Any team wanting to enter at the last minute can just come to the park to register.