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Locals come out to support community
Chili tasters qued up at the Old Farts Chili tent as the sound of toots from a black stuffed bear and a white stuffed bear filled the air.
“Everybody kicks a kick out of it. The kids like it and the guys like it, and some women hate it. Some of the kids laugh,” said Kevan White who is from Porterville.
Part of a gimmick the bears were an addition to the tent as White and his partner Greg Crosson, who are both farmers, tried their hand at making the best tasting chili at the second annual Porterville Firehouse Chili Cook-off this past Saturday. The competition was a people’s choice contest where after paying a fee visitors received a card and sampled the chili at each stand. After the number of the stand was marked off, and all the stands were visited the attendee wrote the number of their favorite on the back and handed in the card.
White and Crosson were decked out in matching black shirts, hats, and shoes that were sprinkled with red chili peppers. This is the second time the duo has participated. Last year they won first place with a White family recipe that dates back almost 100 years. The secret to a good chili is two fold.
“It should have a nice taste, and as it hits the back of your throat it should have a kick or pow to it,” stated White who added that by participating they help the community.
The contestants were just one of the many competitors to bring out their chili cooking skills.
Other competitors included the Tulare County fire department and Quality Paint and Body.
At Red Chili Kevin Moats, who lives in Bakersfield, decided to give it a go as it was his first time competing.
“I figured why not. It’s pretty close to home,”said Moats. According to Moats, he came last year as a spectator and usually participates in rib competitions. Though he did not have a personal recipe his secret is simple.
“It’s just meat, sauce, and some veggies,” explained Moats who pointed out that the flavor of the meat actually made the chili.
At the Porterville fire department Backdraft stand Firefighter Shannon Skiles was hard at work as he gave out samples.
So far the day was going well.
“We’ve had a lot of people come through. Everybody looks like they’re having a really good time,” said Skiles who explained that the proceeds for the event would be split evenly between the Valley Children’s Hospital and the Firefighters Association.
“At different times during the year we donate back to the community with different events. A majority of everything we do goes back to the community in one way or another,” explained
Skiles who added that the firefighters association has a scholarship program for high school students and they donate to other non-profits.
A trio from Porterville Kelley Iversen ,Robin Vogt and Shauna Craig all came to the event.
“This is a great thing for the city of Porterville. I came to try out chili and hang out with friends,” said Iversen.
“ I came to support fire, support charity, vote, and enjoy chili,” stated Craig.
The winner of the competition was the Tulare County Fire Department which also won the flash point, which is the best chili between the two fire departments. It was sponsored by the Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union, Eagle Mountain Casino, KJUG, Budweiser, and Quality Paint and Body.