Some format changes await cooks at the 30th annual Lenexa Chili Challenge this weekend in Old Town Lenexa.
Gone is the Chili Appreciation Society International (C.A.S.I.) Division, replaced this year with the Traditional Division and a Grand Championship award that goes to the team with the highest score from all four judging categories.
“We’ve enjoyed our partnership with C.A.S.I. over the years, but we’ve been getting more and more requests from teams wanting to know their standing in each of the categories,” said Lindsay Hart, superintendent of the Lenexa Parks and Recreation, which sponsors the event.
“We were unable to give contestants a complete list of results because the C.A.S.I. category is judged in multiple rounds which provide only the top ten teams of each category,” Hart said. “Now we’re able to judge the chili in one round and have a complete list of results so each team knows how they placed.”
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The newly established Grand Championship receives a $250 gift certificate and a banner.
The four categories are Homestyle Chili, which includes any kind of meat and fillers; the Traditional, which like C.A.S.I., is meat and spices, no beans; ;Salsa; and Hot Wings.
Winners of the Homestyle and Traditional divisions receive a $200 gift certificate, a plaque and ribbon; second a $125 gift certificate; and $50 certificate for third.
Winners of the Salsa and Hot Wings divisions receive $50 dollar gift certificates, with $20 for second place and $10 for third. Other teams finishing in the Top 10 receive ribbons.
Nearly 200 teams are entered in the two-day event in Old Town Lenexa at the corner of Pflumm and Santa Fe Trail Drive, which is open to the public at no charge. Friday night features live music, fireworks and games for youngsters. Judging begins at noon Saturday with winners announced by about 4 p.m. Chili samples are available Saturday while supplies last.
For more details on the event, go to www.lenexa.com.
“Fortunately almost all of our teams are returning this year in addition to some new teams,” Hart said. “In fact, we have a waiting list of more than 20 teams wanting to compete.”