In search of the best chili |

In search of the best chili

Sandi Hoover
Sandi Hoover/Nevada AppealDean Poppenga, 9, of Carson City, samples a cup of chili Saturday in Virginia City during the 27th annual Chili on the Comstock Regional Cookoff. Hundreds of people filled turned out for the event.

With sunny skies overhead and only a nip of cold in the air, hundreds of people thronged to Virginia City on Saturday for the 27th annual Chili on the Comstock Regional Cookoff.

For $5, visitors could buy 10 samples from among a choice of nearly 35 entrants, coming from as far away as Pahrump, Oregon, California and Colorado.

Several contestants hailed from Reno, and there were even a few closer to home like Wayne Schumacher and Nadine Klestinski from Carson City and Sonny Cullen from Dayton.

In addition to the chili cookoff prizes, there was a People’s Choice Award for the best of all the town merchants, who cooked up their own special chili batches for Saturday visitors to the Comstock.

In the past, the cookoff was held in one of the saloon’s parking lots, but Rich Crombie, event coordinator and owner of Plan It Big, said he wanted to try something new this year.

A street festival atmosphere was achieved by lining C Street with booths – both vendors and chili cookoff contenders – between Taylor and Union streets, so that visitors could have better access to the samples and other products.

The annual tradition featured both amateur and professional cooks all competing for cash prizes, trophies and bragging rights to determine who has the best red chili, best green chili and best salsa on the Comstock.

Other highlights of the day included lots of family-friendly activities such as a special showing by Splash Dogs as seen on Animal Planet and other popular TV channels.

Live music blared throughout the streets from the “Rock N Roll Comedy Band.” Other activities included face painting, pinata contest, street magicians and balloon animals for the kids. Living Legends and Horse Thief Canyon Gunfighters brought an air of the Old West to the event.

All entries were officially judged by International Chili Society judges, and results will be posted Monday on the