WHEELING - They came, they saw - and they ate chili.
Enough chili, in fact, that the 13th annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff donated a record $8,632 to the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.
City Manager Robert Herron presented a check in that amount on the city's behalf to George Smoulder, executive director of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.
Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron, second from right, presents a check in the amount of $8,632 to George Smoulder, Executive Director of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley. The check represents the proceeds from the 2014 Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff held June 7 at Wheeling’s Heritage Port. Taking part in the check presentation are, from left: Melynda Sampson, Office Assistant, United Way; Smoulder, Herron, and Rose Humway-Warmuth, Chili Cookoff Chair.
"We can't say 'thank you' enough to the City of Wheeling and all those who took part to make this cookoff such a success," Smoulder said. "So many individuals and businesses volunteered and donated in some way, and their generosity will mean a great deal to our friends and neighbors who are served by our United Way member agencies."
To date, the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff, held the first full weekend of June and hosted by the City of Wheeling, has brought in nearly $80,000 for the United Way. This year's event was held June 7 at Wheeling's Heritage Port, with several thousand gathering on a weather-perfect day along the Ohio River.
"I'm really thrilled the event has grown the way it has over the past 13 years," Rose Humway-Warmuth, Cookoff chair, said. "This cooking competition has survived and thrived through the 13 years. It was the first of its kind here. We were able to bring something really different to the Ohio Valley. This event, sanctioned by the International Chili Society, brings national recognition to the City of Wheeling, our Ohio Valley and our United Way."
The 2015 Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff will be held Saturday, June 6.
The top winners in the ICS categories of the competition are eligible to compete in the ICS International Chili Cookoff set for early October in California.
A total of $3,500 in prizes was distributed based on the judges' rankings. Final scores were tabulated by Nancy Gwynn, CPA, of Wilson Kozicki & Gwynn PLLC.
The winners in the 2014 Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff were:
- Miss Chili Pepper - Laura McClay of Wheeling (Temper Tantrum Chili);
- Mr. Hot Sauce - John Harwell of Ohio;
- Best Booth - Temper Tantrum Chili (1st), Mary Fahey and Wolfie of Wheeling (2nd);
- Best Booth, Commercial - TJ's Sports Garden Restaurant and Main Street Bank;
- Best of Wheeling - Ron McClay of Wheeling;
- Rookie of the Year - Lee Waybright of Ohio;
- Best Commercial/Restaurant - TJ's Sports Garden Restaurant and Main Street Bank (1st); River City Aleworks and Wheeling Nailers (2nd); Cafe Burress (3rd);
- Peoples Choice, Individual - Matt Welsch of Wheeling, Vagabond Chef;
- People's Choice, Commercial - Ye Old Alpha (1st); Eat'n Park (2nd);
- ICS Red - Christian Parker of Virginia (1st); Bill Donovan of Ohio (2nd); Mike Freedman of Connecticut (3rd); Carrie Lentz Parre of Virginia (4th); Lauren Ray of Michigan (5th);
- ICS Chile Verde - Phil Majestro of Charleston, W.Va. (1st); Bob Kyle of Michigan (2nd); Debbie Sinclair of Ohio (3rd);
- ICS Salsa - Diane Lentz of Kentucky (1st); Judy Ormeza of Connecticut (2nd); John Harwell of Ohio (3rd);
- Homestyle - Bob Kyle of Michigan (1st); Gail Donovan of Ohio (2nd); Diane Lentz of Kentucky (3rd).
Local participating restaurants included: Ye Olde Alpha; TJ's Sports Garden Restaurant with Main Street Bank; Vagabond Kitchen; Big Girls BBQ; Two P's Chili: Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration; Eat'n Park; Cafe Burress; Enzy's Diner; River City Aleworks with the Wheeling Nailers; Generations; Oglebay Resort; Quaker Steak and Lube.
The United Way manned a booth serving chili from several restaurants, as well as chili prepared by United Way agencies.