The 29th Annual Southwest Open Chili Championship and North of the Brazos Cookoff will be held this Saturday and Sunday (May 26-27) at the Choctaw/KOA RV Park on the grounds of the Choctaw Casino Resort.
It is the second year in a row that the Wichita Falls-based event will call Durant its home. In 2011, the chili championship drew more than 150 cooks – up from the normal count of 85-100.
“It seems like we’ve grown since going to the casinos,” said Southwest Open Committee member Nancy Graves. Choctaw Casino and Resort will hand out chairs and other goodies as prizes for the top cooks, but there is much more at stake.
Depending upon the turnout of cooks, a handful of the highest finishers in the judging will automatically qualify for the international chili championship this fall in Terlingua, Texas.
This weekend’s chili cookoff is actually divided into two events: The Southwest Open on Saturday and the North of the Brazos pod cookoff on Sunday. The public is invited to participate on both days, and local judges are urged to volunteer.
On Saturday, judges should sign up at 1:30 p.m. at the KOA meeting room ahead of the 2 p.m. chili turn-in time. Same goes for Sunday. After judging, tasting cups will be available for $3. Both events benefit charities.
“In addition to the chili, we have show teams as well,” said Graves. “It gets crazy but it’s fun and light-hearted.”
The Choctaw KOA recreational vehicle park is located on Enterprise Boulevard just north of the casino parking garage.