By Don Russell
For the 157th time in the Great Yuba Pass Chili Cook-off’s 30 year history, Jenny Varn again took home the first place trophy.
There was much amiss at last Saturday’s festivities. Sixteen cooks suffered the balmy weather. Some health issues prevented Loyalton’s Andy White from creating his traditional masterpiece. He rarely misses the event, and always improves it. His absence, however, did not prevent judge Paul Bianco from taking some cheap shots at him in a rant that excoriated several other participants. With any luck, those disparaging comments will be published in some future edition of this scurrilous rag.
There were no gusts to topple tables and tents. There was no freezing to force cooks to rub hands in front of car heaters. Even as participants broke down their displays in the early afternoon, most could still feel their toes. Some years are like that: the event takes place on the first Saturday of March regardless of the weather.
Local publicans could learn from Ms. Varn’s approach to taking first place. It appears a sign offering “Free Beer” is effective in making one’s offerings popular. There may be no rules, but there are tricks.
Our readers may, or may not, forgive their reporter for ignoring the “who” of journalism’s five Ws. We are left only with the names of the offerings, and dim recollections of the personalities involved.
Taking the coveted Ass Last trophy was Texas TNT Chili. That trophy is key to winning the hat trick of the event: last one year, first the next.
The Jalapeño Chicken Chili took sixth place, followed by Tony’s Yuba Pass Chili. Always a contender the Clamper’s 1849/1801 Chapter’s Clamper Beans chili took fourth place. Nudging the brotherhood’s work, the Holy Cow Jumping’ Jalapenos chili snuck into third.
The real contenders, however, were Campbell’s Chili Soup in second, and of course, Jenny’s Free Beer Chili took first.
The guy offering the Green New Deal Chili Verdi managed to stuff the ballot box sufficiently to steal the People’s Choice award. We hold this as proof that democracy doesn’t work, and the calming influence of a republican form of government is preferable. We just regret that those ostensibly sharing that view have turned out to be conspiracy nuts and cultist whack jobs.
But bowing to the inevitable, look for our offering the be labeled Trump Chili next year. Or maybe Storming’ Capitol Chili. We’ll figure it out.