"I was pleasantly surprised with everything," said Mindi Artherton, Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. "Our committee and the community came together to make this year's event a success.
"It was a beautiful day," added Artherton. "You couldn't have asked for better weather, and I think that really helped this year's success also."
The chamber sold 750 chili tasting kits, which allowed attendees to sample chili and salsa prepared by over 25 cooking competitors.
Community members who participated in the annual event also had an opportunity to enjoy performances by Possum Holler Fiddlers, the Monett Bootkickers, England Avenue, Rosenbach Warrior Training Branches Family Martial Arts Center and Cassville YMCA tumbling.
A pet parade, sponsored by Cassville Veterinary Clinic, featured an assortment of furry friends, who paraded from the Commerce Bank parking lot to the festival stage. Each pet parade competitor received a participation prize and was entered into a drawing for Frontline Plus, donated by Terry Langley, of Merial Animal Health, and Greenie Treats.
Pet parade winners included: Curtis and Lindsay Joeckel, best overall; Barbara Connella, most unique; and Carley Klewer and Morgan Popanz, best costumes.
The Cassville Chamber also hosted its first annual chilidog eating challenge, which was sponsored by Sonic. TJ Dickinson, Cassville High School math teacher and basketball coach, polished off six foot-long chilidogs in 12 minutes to win the event.
"Dickinson has promised to return next year to reclaim his reign as the chilidog champion," said Artherton. "Thanks to all those who participated."
Dickinson received a gift basket of prizes donated by area merchants.
Awards were also presented to area businesses, organizations and individuals who competed in the chili and salsa contest and decorated their booths using the "Chili, Chips and Champs" theme.
The 2009 Chili Cook-Off spirit award was presented to the Cassville United Methodist Church. Red Rose Health and Rehab won the best decorated booth award and the people's choice salsa award. The people's choice chili award was presented to Tressame Jines.
Salsa winners included: the Barry County Republican Club, first place; Ole' Town Donuts, second place; and Red Rose Health and Rehab, third place.
Chili winners in the community division were: Cassville United Methodist Church, first place; Renegades traveling baseball team, second place; and the Barry County Republican Club, third place.
Corporate chili division winners included: Freedom Bank of Southwest Missouri, first place; Fasco, second place; and Red Rose Health and Rehab, third place.
Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) Division winners were: Junior Johnson, first place; Emmanuel Baptist Church, second place; Barry Electric Cooperative, third place; Roylene Johnson, fourth place; Red Rose Health and Rehab, fifth place; Debbie Greenlee, sixth place; Dixie Johnson, seven place; Virgil Johnson, eighth place; Don Greenlee, ninth place; and the Barry County Republican Club, 10th place.
CASI Best in Show awards were presented to: Barry Electric, first place; Freedom Bank, second place; and Jines, third place.
Other salsa and chili cook-off competitors included: the Lutheran Church, Bud and Mary Oltman, Cassville Lions Club, St. John's Clinic, All Faith United Methodist Church, Cassville Rotary Club, Jimmy's Pre-Owned Value Center, St. John's Hospital-Cassville, Masonic Lodge, Robert Wolf and Toby Dotson.
"This event is a success because of the outstanding commitment from the Chili Cook-Off Committee, the Cassville community and vendors that are involved," said Artherton. "Thank you to everyone that attended the event and thank you for supporting the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce."