We just got the news a few minutes ago. Yes, we are "ON" once again for being Chili Cook Off Judges for one of The Clayton Heritage Days signature events. This will be our third year as judges. The first year was pretty sketchy--people weren't real "dialed into" our style and form of judging. Of course, we'll call a spade a spade any ol' day. And when someone opens up a can of Hormel Chili and thinks they're gonna win a contest, well, "Houston, we gotta a problem!"
We laid down The Law with those people in 2009. We said, "Hey, you wanna have chili, THIS is how you do it." Believe it or not, people actually took our advice. The entries in the 2010 contest were light years better than the previous year. The guy that won it was amazing. His chili was off the charts in every way, shape and form. But the rest of the entrants were equally almost as good. Everyone put their hearts into it and the results really showed. We'd have to say that Clayton produced the best overall chili we've ever eaten.
We're pretty good at making chili ourselves. But we sure "got a lesson" from those folks in Clayton last year.
We emailed the Honcho today asking if we were still "ON" to be judges for the event. He gave us "two thumbs up" and we're good to go. If it's July 23rd, we know we're gonna be in Clayton! Frankly, we are pleased to learn and know about this. It's great to have Friends, especially Friends who keep inviting you to tell them just how badly they made their chili! How good is that? VERY good!
Life is good, too.
PS--That's Clayton, IDAHO. Click here to see their awesome website. CLAYTON ROX!
PPS (#2) I went back through last year's blog records and found this account of our Chili judging in July 2010. It' obvious we combined it with the BLM Salmon River Guide Project. Gee, multi-tasking, anyone? How 'bout paddle yer brains out the day before, the day of and the day after?
OK, without further ado, here is last year's blog excerpt:
"Friday, we met with Jeff in his Challis office during the late morning. We finally managed to get on the water about 1 pm and floated 13 miles. After running the shuttles and so forth, we were back in camp by 6 pm.
Saturday, we flew out of camp by 8:45 am and arrived in Clayton precisely at 10 am. Judging the chile thing was a real hoot. Mike slipped me a hundred dollar bill and that was nice, too! He invited us back again for 2011 and the entrants and spectators really seemed to love our schtick--we wore matching red, white and blue aprons and used our digital laser thermometer to really ham it up. They had prize money this year and so I got to pass out ribbons and money and that livened up the scene considerably. We got to perform in the replica livery stable and it was really a memorable moment. Much to my abject surprise, some guy dressed up like a mountain man came over and asked me to participate in the black powder shoot. I told him I didn't have a rifle and hadn't shot black powder in maybe 40 years or more. He said, "No problem, you can use my .54 caliber Hawken." I about fainted dead away. Sure enough he had this awesome Hawken and refreshed my memory on how to charge it and I got to get off 8 shots and hit the target on four of them. It was a true hoot!
We finally got out of Clayton about 2 pm and were on the water again by 3 pm and got off about 5 pm. Once again were back in camp about 6 pm and enjoyed a real nice evening Happy Hour there on the banks of the Salmon. There was a huge wedding going on in the day use area and Susun danced her booties off for a few hours. She really got to exercise her Social Muscles to the Max Saturday night.
Sunday was a real slow moving morning. and we didn't get back on the water until 1 pm. We had a great run through Royal Gorge--lots of fluffy whitewater and some rocks to dodge, too. We were off a little after 3 pm and this time got back to camp about 5:30 pm. In total, we ran about 27 miles of river in 3 days. Our volunteer agreement targets a 15 mile per day average so we need to play catchup on our next trip. The boat is now nicely rigged and performs very well. We can rig and derig very quickly and we have everything we need for the short day trips we are taking."