Big turnout at the Hillbilly Chili Bash

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Chili dog contest William Naugle, of Cassville, won the fifth annual Chili Dog contest sponsored by Sonic. Naugle downed five chili dogs in a little over two minutes to win $100 in cash and a $100 Sonic gift card. Ten contestants vied for this coveted title. Naugle was one of nine contestants vying for the win. Democrat photo/Kerry Hays

The day started out cool, but one taste of chili could warm the heart of any hillbilly in sight. Nearly 800 people purchased chili-tasting kits and sampled the secret recipes offered by a variety of local groups and organizations this past Saturday when the square in Cassville was turned into a community celebration.

"This is my favorite thing to come to each year," said Scott Fitzpatrick, state representative for the 158th district. "Small towns need these types of events to keep people involved. I'm glad the Chamber keeps it going and I hope they keep it going for a very long time."

The theme for this year's chili and salsa cook-off sponsored by the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce was "Hillbilly Chili Bash" and the event encompassed a variety of activities. Booths opened at 8 a.m., but the first event of the day was the 5k Chili Run sponsored by the Cassville YMCA. The starting point was changed this year to better integrate this event with other planned festivities.

"We had more people than ever show up. It was wonderful starting from the square and incorporating it into the Chili Cook-off," said Dove Haney, center director of the Cassville YMCA. "We wanted to thank the police department for blocking the roads for us and making the trail safe and easy to run. We'd also like to thank the parks department for providing such a beautiful trail."

Ron Bouchard was the first person to cross the finish line with a time of 21:46. Additional winners of the event include:

The Flyin' Buzzards performed on the stage during the morning while people visited booths and caught up with friends and neighbors. Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr noted the importance of this event for the community and the goodwill it offers.

"This is such and important event for the community," said Kammerlohr. "It brings in a lot of people and everybody's in a good mood so there's not much of a problem for us to take care of."

The Pet Parade sponsored by Herrin Animal Clinic, started at 10 a. m. and a variety of costumed canines strutted their stuff. When it was all said and done, Best bark was awarded to CC Runner and her owner Melissa Barrientos, Best Duo went to Brody Ozbun and his dog Daisey, Diesel owned by Bonnie and Maggie Robins while Best Costume was awarded to Nathan Buckner's dog Charlie. All the dogs that entered, and the two goats, were provided with treats.

The second annual pie contest awarded prizes in the following categories:

best overall pie, Kadence Maggard, apple cinnamon; second place pie, Colton,

Maggie, and Gracie Kirkpatrick, apple pie.

William Naugle, of Cassville, won the fifth annual Chili Dog contest sponsored by Sonic. Naugle downed five chili dogs in a little over two minutes to win $100 in cash and a $100 Sonic gift card. Ten contestants vied for this coveted title.

Sonic also sponsored a trick skating performance that began at 11:30 a.m. Sonic skaters Wesley Waters, Geoffrey Brophy and Kaitlin Sewell dazzled the crowd with their flips and splits. Sewell, who learned how to skate this past February, recently competed in a national competition where she placed an "unofficial" fourth. She learned to skate primarily to become better at her job.

"You get out faster, the tips are better and it's a fun environment because you get to skate," said Sewell.

Awards were provided to local organizations that decorated their booth in the spirit of the theme in addition to those given for the chili and salsa. Award winners included: Cassville United Methodist Church, first place chili; Arning Companies, first place salsa; Barry Electric Cooperative, second place chili; State Farm Insurance, second place salsa; Exeter Assembly of God, third place chili; Barry County Republicans, third place salsa; Personal Touch Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, fourth place chili; Cassville YMCA, fourth place salsa.

People's Choice Awards were given to: ReaLife Worship Center, best decorated booth; Barry Electric Cooperative, most spirited booth; Arning Companies, people's choice chili; State Farm Insurance, people's choice salsa.

Randy and Gayle Wolfinbarger of Eureka Springs, AR were the lucky winners of the 1972 Chevy Nova that was raffled off by the Barry County Drug Court. Ticket sales for the drawing brought in a total $18,215 to benefit the drug court's activities.

As noon approached, the 211 Band played as chili-tasting packets were opened and recipes were sampled. The 800 packets sold doesn't come close to illustrating the number of people who attended since not everyone who came purchased a packet from the Chamber booth. Those that did, however, enjoyed the warmth of the late October sun and the spicy taste of Cassville's finest chilies and salsa.

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