Faster than I had ever expected, the 9th of October is just days away. Shirts, signs, sample cups, sponsor packages, aprons, flags, volunteers and armbands are all being lined up so that the biggest and best outdoor cooking event in Northwest Georgia can take place. So far, things are going smoothly and as of this moment I expect that this years Trout Unlimited Chili Cook Off will go down as one of the most successful ever. We are still looking for cook teams and will take applications up until Friday afternoon October 8th.

We want to maintain our high standards of being a great party with good entertainment, a fantastic assortment of chili and a place for family fun, plus a vehicle to raise funds to support the Trout Unlimited mission statement. As the cook off has progressed we had seen a dramatic increase in the number of non-cook team, non-sponsor and non-TU volunteers that just show up on Friday evening to party in the park. Trout Unlimited has the EXCLUSIVE RIGHT to control access to Ridge Ferry Park on Friday and Saturday and can limit those attending on Friday evening to those people who are supposed to be there. This year we will have issued armbands to Teams, Sponsors and TU personnel. These armbands must be worn at all times after 8pm Friday. Sponsors and Cook Teams receive a predetermined number of armbands. Cook Teams are entitled to 4 armbands per recipe entered and can purchase additional armbands for each additional team member desired for $5.00 each. If they wish to have ten people to join their team at the park for Friday night, the “Team Leader” and only the Team Leader can purchase additional armbands. Sponsors can obtain additional armbands as needed. Wearing of armbands will be strictly enforced and anyone in the park after 8pm Friday not wearing the armband will be required to leave the park. These armbands allow for re-entry into the park at any time Friday and again on Saturday, the day of the cook off.

The use of armbands the past 2 years has been very successful in allowing cook teams the needed time to prepare their sites and chili and have the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of the other teams. Again, we have reserved the park for the exclusive use of TU and the cook off. We realize these changes will not be welcome to some of you, but please bear with us. The gates open to the public at 10:30 Saturday morning October 9th. Admission to the cook off is only $5.00. Children 5 and under are admitted FREE. When you come through the gate please ask for the peoples choice ballot if it is not handed to you when pay to get in. You cannot go back after the fact and ask for a ballot.

MUSIC

Gary Greene will open up at 10:30 with some classic folk and country ballads as well as originals.

Immediately following Gary we will have about an hour of blues brought to us by Ronnie Gray, Terry Zeiger, Steve Stewart and Mitchell Cantrell. Daddy Irv will perform a mix of eighties and nineties contemporary rock. Backswing will be playing a contemporary adult jazz-rock

The Backstreet Boogie Band will close out the show play classics from the 60’s and 70’s.

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IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO ENTER A TEAM

We are still taking applications for cook teams. Entry forms are available at the Greener Burger on Broad Street in Rome. Pick one up and fill it out & give me, Paul Diprima, a call at 706-766-5083 and I will let you know where to drop off your last minute entry or it can be faxed to 706-235-1992. You can also download a form at www.tuchilicookoff.org.

No matter how you plan to participate in this years’ cook off, just being there to consume some fantastic varieties of chili is a must. Tell your friends and get a crowd together and make a batch of chili and just possibly you could be the winner of the $500 grand prize or the coveted Peoples Choice trophy. No matter whether you cook, come for the chili or the music, just by being there you are helping Trout Unlimited fulfill its’ mission statement of “Conserving, Protecting and Restoring North Americas’ Cold-water Fisheries and their Watersheds.