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25th Annual Altrusa Chili Challenge still needs more cooks

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Saturday is going to be a chilly day, so what better way to warm up than having some chili at the 25th Annual Altrusa Chili Challenge?

It is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Crosspointe Biker Church, 1130 E. Baseline Road. 

Melinda Sudhoff, an Altrusa member for 22 years, said the event is going to be great.

“It takes a lot of planning. We start planning for the following year as soon as the event is over,” she said. “We write down what needs to be done or improved so we can make the next year better. With the dedication of the workers, we are successful.”

Judges evaluate the chili for texture, consistency, appearance and spiciness, she said.

“We have had white chicken chili; with our rules you can’t have beans or pasta in it. The original chili that was developed in Texas didn’t have beans or pasta so we go with that. We have had deer, buffalo, white and all varieties of chili. They always try to come up with something different to catch the judges’ eye.”

Amy Hammons, cooker chairman, and Josalyn Compton, crafter chairman, announced that booth space is still available for both. Those who want a booth should contact an Altrusa member by Friday.

Lunch will be served featuring Altrusa’s special chili recipe and homemade pies. Members of the Connersville High School boys basketball team and 4-H will assist with serving and clean up. Garrie Woolery will emcee. There will be a silent auction, crafts from local vendors and activities for children. Admission is free.

Sudhoff said cooker numbers are down this year, “We need more of them. Currently there are less than 10 teams.”

Chili is all prepared at the site. It can’t be pre-made or have any pasta or beans in it.

Vice president Cathy Harvey has been participating more than 10 years.

“The community has been so supportive, they are ever year,” Harvey said. “We normally have around 300 people come through. This year, so far, we have 33 booths, five cookers and the rest are vendors.”

Sudhoff said the Chili Challenge is the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Altrusa is an international service organization.

“There are 22 members (in Connersville). It is an international organization that started in 1921 in Nashville, Tennessee, but began in Connersville in 1946, we have been around a while,” Sudhoff said.

To become a vendor or a cooker, please call 765-265-4654 or 765-265-0339.