Fun at Fire in the Foot Hills
By TONY NIVENS / Community Columnist
“We had about 1,300 visitors to our event this year,” said local chiropractor Dr. Justin Fogo, co-founder of Chelsea’s Fire in the Foot Hills, a local fundraising event. “It was our largest attendance ever.”
Fire in the Foot Hills is a family chili and barbecue cook-off held each April in Chelsea. It benefits The March of Dimes and Chelsea Fire Department’s Fire Dog, Hero, who teaches school kids about fire safety.
From 10 crock pots of chili entered four years ago, and about 30 visitors in the Fire House parking lot, the event has grown each year to include 20 teams of contestants, several venders and now includes a swiftly growing barbecue division filling half the parking lot of Tractor Supply with displays and visitors. This year donations reached just under $5,000.
“This all started because Dr. Fogo and I had an ongoing argument about whose chili was the best. He claimed my chili was no good and I told him his tasted like vegetable soup,” chuckled Scott Weygand, local Farmers Insurance agent and co-founder of the event.
“We are Nebraska Corn Huskers, so we put corn in our chili,” chimed in the Fogos, “but Scott didn’t start jibing us about it until we found out about his secret ingredient. All this bragging about his great chili and his secret ingredient; and his secret was Taco Bell Hot Sauce.”
That first year, Fogo’s chili won second place. Scott’s did not place, but donations flowed, crock pots were quickly emptied and a great event was born.
“We had a blast here today,” said Two Fat Boys and a Grill, a team from Childersburg, this year’s grand-champion of the barbecue division. They won the “bling,” a 3-foot trophy and a gift certificate from sponsor Tractor Supply for $250.
Local team Ace of Spades and Chelsea resident Chester Lewis of State Farm Insurance came in second and third in Bar-B-Q, while Chelsea resident Shane Krantz and Jeff Gross of Chelsea Coffee came in first and third in the chili division.
Weygand has placed over the years in chili but current founders bragging rights go to Mary Fogo who placed second this year in chili.