Chili cook-off raises money for a cause

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - Gift baskets, baked goods, and chili filled the room at Elk's Lodge Saturday for the "Dynamite Chili Cookoff".

This was Darrell Arndt's 1st to take part as a professional cook.

"We started early this morning really," said Arndt.  "It's been great these people here are just open they help you out.  They rise you a little for being the new guy on the block, but it's fun.

The cookoff didn't come without a cause.

Proceeds go toward helping build a memorial site for the fallen deputies and volunteer fire fighters in the county.

A project that Willie Howard said has been 7 years in the making.

"This is our first project and we wanted to do it up right," said Howard.
"We enjoy it.  It's taken a lot of work but we have fun."

That monument is one step closer to completion.

The statues that will go in the center have been bought.

All that is left is the brick that will go around it.

Each brick will have the name of a donor to the monument.

Howard said this is a way to say thank you to our law enforcement.

"They're putting their life on the line everyday for us," said Howard.  "Why can't we do something for them?"

Ardnt, a volunteer firefighter said he is excited to see this go up for people to see.

"We do it just to help the public and support so to get a little bit in return it means the world to us."

Not all chili is created equal.

Jim Ezell, former president of the Chili Appreciation Society International said there are guidelines the cooks must follow.
Each chili is judged on smell, color, consistency, taste, and the after taste.
"You adjust your recipe," said Ezell.  "Today is a wonderful day for chili."
"Being a resident of the county here, I couldn't be more pleased."

"Hopefully with the new monument, people will be able to understand what the Sheriff's Office and Volunteer Firefighters do for the community," said Ardnt.

Officials hope to have the monument up on the lawn of the courthouse.