Summer heats up with Truckee Chili Cookoff |

Summer heats up with Truckee Chili Cookoff

Linda Bottjer


With summer’s arrival activities increase.

Naturally, appetites spike and this Sunday, June 26, the Truckee Sunrise Rotary Club’s third annual Chili Cookoff offers delicious relief to any hunger.

Held at Truckee Regional Park, the unlimited consumption of chili begins at 11 a.m.

Three divisions, individual, not for profits and restaurants, will offer their best chili recipes. They compete for a series of awards including the popular People’s Choice. Participants vote by placing the tab from their wristband into cups.

A crowd favorite “Old Farts Makin’s Chili” sounds like a comic combination of old age and the occasional result of chili eating – however Rex Ianson and Don Davis know about cooking winning pots. So does the team known as “Poets on Payday” who hope to find another year filled with gold.

Most of the entries are beef-based. White bean chili made from turkey and other lighter fare is also available and some come accompanied with tortilla strips, vegetable toppings and a variety of hot sauces.

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When it comes to the savory heat of the chilies, the event’s chairperson, Paul Duggan, said, “Everything is basically middle of the road. We don’t want to blow out anyone’s tongue.”

It was at another food festival, a rib cookoff in Sparks, where Duggan and his wife first cooked up the idea of chili.

In less than six months his fellow Rotarians, from Truckee through North Lake Tahoe, took the germ of an idea and delivered it successfully to the area in 2009.

Since the 1993 the club’s programs have been meeting the needs of the economically disadvantaged, area youth and seniors by hosting such events and more. However, do not ever regard the hard-working Rotarians as well-meaning dilettantes.

“We don’t just write checks,” Duggan said.

He also says the success of the fundraiser goes beyond the food.

Credit goes to businesses and utilities which donate product and money and help from individuals such as radio personality Monica Jaye of Reno’s 780 KOH. Jaye has served as the event’s host since 2010. Her husband is a member of the judging panel as is Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens and others.

With 400-500 attendees expected entertainment is a must for keeping the fun level high.

Much of that comes from local bands such as the headlining Deckhands.

Imagine country rock converging with alternative rock and a huge dose of Jimmy Buffett’s Caribbean influences, without the Parrotheads, and the band’s musical offerings is understood. Their name comes from years playing on the decks of local ski resorts, not swabbing at sea.

Also appearing on the roster will be Reno’s Pleasant Head with their own version of country, blues and rock, the four-part harmonies of the O. K. Chorale, the men’s barbershop group and the Railroad Regulators.

Face painting and a Bouncy House are among the activities to thrill the Chili Cookoff’s younger visitors.

The benefits of chili go a long way in Truckee.