LAWTON, Okla._Whether you like your chili mild, spicy or on the verge of nuclear, the 9th annual Comanche County Courthouse Chili Cook-off had something for everyone.
This year's contest had 17 entries, but only one could walk away with bragging rights. Six judges, including our very own David Bradley and meteorologist Katie Western, sampled the 17 chilies before narrowing it down to six based off of color, aroma, texture, taste and heat. From there, the top three chilies were identified and the trophies were handed out.
All 17 of the chilies were made by courthouse employees, including Comanche County Treasurer Rhonda Brantley. She entered a spicy and a mild chili and took second and third place in the cook-off. Bragging rights for the best chili, and a $100 visa gift card, went to Chief Deputy Commissioner Teresa Cunningham. However, the biggest winners are the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma and the Lawton Food Bank.
"We just try to pick an organization that we can help out in our community because we do serve the public here in Comanche County. We picked the United Way, they serve many different partner agencies, so they can disperse the money all throughout the county and we can just help those people out," said Lindsey Billen, the Comanche County Courthouse employee campaign coordinator for the United Way and six-year chili cook-off coordinator.
The chili was open to the hungry public at 11:30 a.m. Visitors paid $5 for a single trip through the chili line or $10 for as much chili as they could eat.
In addition to Thursday's chili cook-off, the courthouse also announced the winner of their Canned Food War. All of the proceeds from the chili cook-off and Canned Food War will go to the Lawton Food Bank and the United Way. In total, they collected 3,276 canned food items. The Third Floor Team collected 393 cans, the Western District Barn collected 1,264 cans and the Eastern District collected 1,524 cans of food for the Lawton Food Bank. The cook-off raised $1,058.75 for the United Way, which brings the courthouse's total campaign contribution to $5,078.75.