Sept. 17, 2006
 
Herd Worth of Chili
 
By Tony Rutherford
Huntington News Network Writer
 
Huntington, WV (HNN) -- Calling it one of the best Chili Festivals in 23 years, WSAZ’s Randy Yoe, master of ceremonies, praised people for their support of the charity which benefits from all of the salsa, red peppers, and beverages : The Ronald McDonald House.
 
Since its inception in 1989, according to Tonya Oakley, director of the Ronald McDonald House, the annual Chili Festivals have “raised over $200,000.” The 2006 event exceeded the fund raising goal of $30,000. Oakley said an all time high of chili sales --- $16,000 occurred on the warm, clear morning and afternoon.
 
The festival included 50 teams of chili cooks vying for an opportunity to move up to the world finals. Ron Smith, owner of Chili Willis, called this a year in which “every one of the finalists would have won at other cook offs.”
 
Rose Warmuth took the first place trophy and $1,500 top prize in the ICS Red competition. Dr. David Mallory, Tom Hoover, Carrie Lentz and David Staley finished second to fifth respectively. “This [Blenko Glass] trophy is better than the Pillsbury bake-off,” Warmuth told the audience. The Wheeling, W.Va. woman will compete in the World Championship Oct. 6-8 in Omaha, Neb.
 
Fat Boys Chili of Ashland, Ky., won best booth and showmanship followed by Hillbilly Chili of Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Trinity Presbyterian of Huntington.
 
Debbie Williams took first place in the salsa competition with Brian Warmuth and Laura Staley as the second and third place winners.
 
The Hardest Working Team, which is based on amount of Chili sold, was won by the Fat Boys, followed by Devil’s Chemist, the Simmons/Mallory team, Clear Channel Communications, Hillbilly Chili, MU Culinary Team, Keith Proctor/Mike Holland team, Trinity Presbyterian and St. Mary’s Medical Center.
 
Chili Verde: Gary Schmeth ($300 and trophy); (2) Rose Warmuth; (3) Larry Lentz.
 
Bee 97.1 took home the media trophy besting teams from My Z TV, the Herald Dispatch, Clear Channel and the Planet.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Alan Smith, of Barboursville, W.Va., won the NASCAR vacation raffle with Jessica (“My Z TV” ) Ralston drawing the winning ticket.
 
New River Line and City Heat entertained the large crowd which based on chili ticket sales could have been easily over 10,000.