The winds might have been blustery and bone-chilling, but that didn’t keep contestants or tasters away from Mayday Brewery’s Inaugural Chili Cook-Off on January 27. The event, with proceeds going to the Live 4 Tay Foundation, offered a variety of chili options from seven contestants.

Ed and Courtney Clark were happy to sign up as contestants. They have both participated in other chili cook-offs, as contestants and judges.

“Ozzy and Ariana said they wanted to try a cook-off to get the year started,” said Ed Clark. “We signed up, for them and because we also support the Live 4 Tay Foundation.”

According to their website, “The Live 4 Tay Foundation is a community-based organization dedicated to raise awareness for childhood cancer through advocacy and education, and by raising and disbursing funds to provide financial assistance to families who have children with cancer and to organizations that are leading innovative research for the prevention and cure of childhood cancers…The Live 4 Tay Foundation was founded in September 2012 in memory of 16 year-old Taylor Filorimo [who was the youngest person ever] diagnosed [with] Renal Cell Carcinoma, Papillary Type II, a [form] kidney cancer typically found in men over the age of fifty.”

“When we started planning the event,” said Ariana Vandenburgh, the Vice President of Experience at Mayday Brewery, “We got a hold of Ed Clark, who is on the board of the foundation.”

Vandenburgh said that the competition got cutthroat, with cousins who are competing against each other doing some pretty mean trash talking. All in good fun, of course. Because the whole point was to create a fun way to bring the community together during the winter months.

“Mayday is all about community involvement,” said Vandenburgh. “We like to do events that give back. A chili cook-off seemed like a good thing with all the cold and wet outside.”

The contestants and their recipes were all very different.

Terry Web shared that he used three kinds of chilies in his beefy traditional version, while others offered veggie chili, turkey chili, and Chili Verde.

Brittney Whidden served her Chili Verde over brown rice with an assortment of condiments, including bacon, Mexican crema, and Anaheim chilies that she roasted herself. Others provided everything from Fritos to homemade corncakes and guacamole.

“Quite frankly,” said Kristy Ray, “while I entered for Tay, I have a really good chili recipe and have a chance at winning this.”

So, was Ray the big winner?

Sorry Kristy, maybe next year. This year the honors went to the Ed Clark. But, in the end, everyone participating was a winner for helping out the Live 4 Tay Foundation.

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