Some like it hot

Annual Otho Chili Cook-off well attended Saturday

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Adam Hodson, 12, of Clarion, left, serves up a helping of chili during the annual Otho Chili Cook-off at Otho City Park on Saturday. His uncle, Flash Gustafson, of Harcourt, is holding the bowl. The two were cooking mates for the event.

OTHO — Two years ago, Adam Hodson, 12, of Clarion, was a judge for the annual Otho Chili Cook-off.

On Saturday, Hodson traded in his judges scorecard for an apron and a chef’s hat. Hodson was the head spicer for his chili team. He showed up bright and early at 6:45 a.m. to Otho City Park with his uncle, Flash Gustafson, of Harcourt. It was Hodson’s turn to be a cook.

“He asked if I would be his teammate,” Gustafson said. “We have been practicing for the past two months making chili.”

Their particular brand of chili was meat heavy.

Hodson said the chili contained bacon, Italian sausage, brisket and hamburger. The chili contained no beans.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Travis Roach, of Otho, pours a helping of his white chicken chili Saturday during the Otho Chili Cook-off at Otho City Park. Roach claimed that his chili was truly the best. That remained to be seen as the people had not yet spoken.

“We don’t have beans because Adam doesn’t like to toot,” Gustafson said.

In terms of spicy, Gustafson said their chili wasn’t too hot.

“I don’t like it real hot, but we go for a distinct flavor,” Gustafson said.

The cook-off is hosted by the Otho Betterment Committee. In addition to chili, there were kids games and a softball tournament being played.

“We have seven chili cooks and five Bloody Mary teams,” said Missy Ewing, a member of the Otho Betterment Committee. “They started cooking at 9 a.m. It’s been a packed park with activities all day.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Kendalyn Anderson, 13, of Otho, holds a cinnamon roll in her left hand and an empty bowl of chili in her right hand Saturday at Otho City Park. Most Iowans know that a cinnamon roll is the perfect complement to a bowl of chili.

In addition to the cook-off, there was also a Bloody Mary competition.

Ewing liked the variety of chili that was served up by the cooks. Her preference is anything not too spicy.

“I like to add Fritos and shredded cheese to mine,” she said.

Dustin Andrews, of Fort Dodge, was busy serving up mini cinnamon rolls to complement the bowls of chili.

“It’s the perfect sweet, salty, spice,” Andrews said. “I don’t know what it is, but you got to have a cinnamon roll to go with.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
The annual Otho Chili Cook-Off was well attended Saturday at Otho City Park.

Meanwhile, Rick and Sue Scott, of Otho, were enjoying their bowls of chili.

The two are known around Otho for their service to the local fire department. Between the two, they devoted 56 years to the Otho Fire Department.

“Coming out and seeing folks is nice,” Rick Scott said.

For his chili, he doesn’t typically prefer beans in the mix.

“Generally, I don’t like beans in my chili,” Rick Scott said.

“Well I do,” Sue Scott responded. “What is chili without the beans?”

The two did agree that the chili cooked up by the participants was flavorful.

“So far everything has been tasty,” Rick Scott said.

Dwight Kaufman and the Rev. Philip Berger, both of Otho, were promoting chili for the Otho Methodist Church.

“It’s the same chili we will be serving up for our fundraiser in January,” Kaufman said.

Travis Roach, of Otho, was convinced that his chili was truly the best.

“Get your chili here,” Roach shouted to the crowd. “Best chili over here. Come on and get it.”

Roach’s chili was a white chicken chili.

“I haven’t got first place yet, so I’m trying something different,” he said.


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