Cook-off heats up in Chelsea March 3

Fire at the Foothills cook-off will benefit Hero the firehouse dog March 3. (Contributed)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Chelsea firefighters and guests alike can eat their fill at the second annual Fire at the Foothills Barbecue and Chili Cook-Off March 3.

The cook-off will take place at Chelsea’s Tractor Supply parking lot from noon to 6 p.m.

“Firemen are going to be judging, and it will benefit Hero and his fire safety program,” Scott Weygand said. “The barbecue portion will benefit the March of Dimes. The firemen are really behind their cause.”

Hero, the Chelsea Fire Department’s Dalmatian, will benefit from the chili cook-off, as no budgeted dollars from the city of Chelsea support the fire educational program.

“With popularity of Hero, it gives the public a chance to support him,” said Lt. Don Williamson, who cares for Hero and organizes the educational programs. “The money goes toward our firehouse dog educational program. It goes to support him where there’s a little gap between our vendors and our needs and also education materials.”

Although Hero has visited schools for the past three years, Williamson said he plans on increasing Hero’s appearances in local schools.

“The kids go crazy over this dog. It’s just fun to watch the kids,” he said. “We can go in and instead of just talking, Hero can assist me in teaching the kids. We can deliver a basic fire safety message to the kids, and they pay more attention because Hero is there than they would without him.”

Weygand of Farmers Insurance and Dr. Justin Fogo of Chelsea Chiropractic are sponsors of the annual event.

Weygand said he has a barbecue team ready to go and plans on entering his own chili into the competition.

“It’s supporting good causes, so we’re trying to keep it up and have fun with it too,” he said. “Come support a good cause and taste some good food.”

Those interested can enter the contest by emailing sweygand@farmersagent.com. Cost is $25 for the chili cook-off and $250 for the barbecue competition. The public is welcome to come and sample entries at Tractor Supply located at 119 Atchison Drive, Chelsea.