Chili Cookoff


Chili tasters analyze this year’s chili.

Saturday was Triple S Harley-Davidson’s 9th annual chili cook-off and bake-off.

According to Jennifer Shuttleworth, the COO of Triple S Harley-Davidson, the event originally came about as a way of getting riders to gather together in the winter months, a time when the cold and icy conditions make riding a motorcycle both uncomfortable and dangerous.

Triple S prides itself on giving back to the community, so each year proceeds from the chili cookoff are given to a different charity. Since the event’s inception, thousands of dollars have been raised. This year, the proceeds were donated to Operation Welcome Home, an organization that aims to alleviate the often difficult transition veterans have when returning to civilian life.

The event opened at noon and the venue quickly became packed as guests flooded in. This year, a total of 14 chili contestants and four baked-goods contestants entered. Ten of the chili contestants were individuals, and the other four were non-profit organizations hoping to win money for their cause.

The event was lively as contestants exchanged playful banter and guests walked around tasting chili.

Chili flavors and styles ran the gamut from traditional to experimental, sweet to sinisterly spicy. One contestant even used bear meat in his chili.

It was clear the contestants took pride in their chili and each had their own philosophy on how to make the best.

One contestant, Ryan Sommerkorn, had a particularly long ingrediant list and said he liked to give his chili a smoky flavor.

"Smoky is the name of the game for me," Sommerkorn said. "I like to layer the flavors, start out sweet and keep a smoky undertaste."

The chili cookoff was a popular event and by 1:15 p.m. a lot of the contestants had run out of samples to give.

At the end of the event winners for each category were announced. From the 10 individual contestants, Darrin Hogue of Jefferson, Pennsylvania won both the people’s choice and judges’ choice. In the non-profit category Morgantown Marathon Mayhem won the people’s choice, along with $500 for their cause. The baked goods category saw a split, with Heather Gapen of Greensboro, Pennsylvania winning the people’s choice and Kelly Virgin of Mount Morris, Pennsylvania winning the judges’ choice.

In total $1,605 was raised for Operation Welcome Home.

Everyone’s chili was well-made, and the event helped out a good cause. Be sure to check out Triple S’s event calendar online for information on next year’s chili cook-off as well as other events. http://