Local cooks with a hankering to become the queen (or king) of quick breads will get their chance at the Oct. 17 Historic Hillsville Chili Shootout. Friends of Hillsville member and Shootout Co-Chairperson Ammie Shupe said research before the event fairly decreed a “Cornbread on the Side” competition should accompany the shootout.
Shupe said no entry fee would be charged to contestants in the cornbread contest, which will feature two categories: traditional, southern cornbread and a more freestyle division, allowing unique vegetable or meat additives. Like many locally, Shupe harbors fond memories of this staple in southern cuisine which cuts across all class, race and regional lines. She credits her late mother, Virginia Edwards, with kindling this interest.
“She made the best cornbread in the world,” said Shupe. “She baked her cornbread from scratch in an old, black skillet, which one of my sisters still has.”
Contestants are allowed to bake their cornbread beforehand and bring in to the shootout to be judged. Shupe said participants are encouraged to have their name, address and contact information on an index card to accompany their entries.
“I think we’ll have a great event for the town and it’ll be here before you know it,” Shupe said. “We’d like to encourage participants to pre-register so we have an idea of the numbers of entries we’ll be dealing with.”
Shupe said sponsorships are still available for the shootout. She explained the the Friends of Hillsville are paying the costs of the event out-of-pocket and welcome the support of local businesses and individuals. Shupe noted that the law firm of McGrady & McGrady has already stepped forward as a sponsor. She said sponsors can have their logo on the official shootout tee-shirt for $500.
The shootout is sanctioned by the International Chili Society (ICS), which began in 1967. The sanctioned chili shootout features professional and amateur divisions. The categories for cooks are traditional red chili, chili verde and salsa. Awards will also be given for showmanship and the best booth decorations. The amateur division winner will be determined by people’s choice voting.
The shirts for the October event are being designed by Classic Creations, which will be providing the shirts (at cost) which will be sold at the event. Shupe said the group is hoping some will be available for sale before the event as well. The shootout is being held in downtown Hillsville, behind the historic Carroll County Courthouse and is open to the public.
A fee of $5 will be charged for a chili sampling wristband with registration for shootout participants set at $25 per entry. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners in the shootout. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home. Persons may obtain information on the event at https://facebook.com/pages/Historic-Hillsvilles-Chili-Shootout/1599001080375261 or by calling Shupe at 276-733-3062 or Beth Deluca at 276-733-3395.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.