Great Bowls of Fire looks at growth

PARKERSBURG – When it’s too hot for some, it’s just right at the Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff in Parkersburg where organizers are soliciting entrants and sponsorships for the fourth annual contest of all things chili.

The event is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley and will be held noon-3 p.m. Oct. 11 at Point Park.

It has grown so much in its first three years that the number of entrants may have to be capped, said Lindsey Anderson, a chairman of the Chili Cookoff committee.

“We are thinking about capping the number of entrants at 40,” Anderson said.

The issue is proximity from the center of activity of the contestants farther away from it, according to organizers.

Jill Parsons, president of the Chamber of Commerce, is recommending contestants submit their entries as soon as possible. Last year’s competitors are also being contacted about competing in the 2014 cookoff, she said.

Last year’s competition set a record for attendance and participation. Thirty-nine contestants participated.

Winners were: Spirit Award, Shorty’s Pizzaria; Mayors Competition, Parkersburg Mayor Robert Newell; Peoples Choice, Parkersburg Fire Department; Judges Choice, Pepper Star by Melanie Roby.

The Chili Cookoff is sponsored and organized by the chamber Parkersburg Area Jaycees. A portion of the proceeds from the cookoff will be given to the Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg.

The entry fee for competitors is $25, $75 if the chamber has to provide a tent. Entry forms can be downloaded at or obtained by calling 304 422-3588.

Deadline to enter is Aug. 29.

Contestants should make at least 4 gallons of chili so there is ample chili for the audience to sample.

The audience will vote for their favorite chili and awards to be presented will be the People’s Choice and Spirit Award. A panel of judges will choose the winners in three categories, traditional, non-traditional and vegetarian chilis.

Also planned is a special competition between local fire departments.

The winner of the People’s Choice will receive $250. The first-place winner in the three judged categories will win $200.

Tickets to the cookoff will be available from chamber members starting Sept. 15. A list of ticket locations will be available on the chamber website.

Admission includes sampling of chili from all contestants, the entertainment and a ticket to cast for the Peoples Choice. Beer and other beverages are not included in the admission.

Tickets are $10 for chamber members in advance, $12 for the public in advance and $15 at the door.

This year’s entertainment is The Davisson Brothers, a bluegrass and country and western band from West Virginia. Members are Donnie Davisson on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and his brother Chris Davisson on lead guitar and slide guitar, cousin Sammy Davisson on bass and vocals and friend Aaron Regester on drums.

Their first single was “Big City Hillbilly.”

Numerous sponsorship categories are available for the cookoff, Parsons said.

Sponsorship levels are:

Platinum Habanera Pepper Level, $2,500.

Gold Cayenne Pepper Level, $1,000.

Silver Jalapeno Pepper Level, $500

Bronze Poblano Pepper Level, $250.

Entertainment Sponsor, $1,000.

Trophy Sponsor, three available, $750.

Peoples Choice Sponsor, $750.

Sponsorship forms are available from the chamber.