Firefighters from all over Arizona came together on Saturday, February 20 to battle it out and see who would reign supreme as the best chili-makers around, as the United Phoenix Firefighters Association (UPFA) hosted the third annual Firefighters Chili Challenge.
The UPFA invited fire departments and local chefs to come out to the event, held in downtown Phoenix on Washington between First and Fourth avenues, to see who could make the best chili while helping to raise money for UPFA charities and local food banks.
This year a few of our Salt River Fire Department firefighters decided to take part.
“We entered the contest because we wanted to get our firefighters out there and to come back and do the same for this community,” said Fire Captain Randy Villa, “and also we thought it would be a fun event to be part of.”
The Chili Challenge awarded prizes for the best chili in three categories: cowboy chili, green chili and red chili. Other prizes were awarded for Best Booth, Best Overall Chili and People’s Choice. The SRFD was represented by firefighter John Regner, whose recipe for cowboy chili included more than 80 pounds of brisket, pork, beans, onions, squash and other special ingredients. It took them two days to prepare for the big cook-off.
During the event, the competing chefs and fire departments handed out samples of their chili to the public, who also enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers, a children’s play area and live music. The entrants set up their booths with themes such as Mardi Gras, college sports, sheriff’s jail and others. The SRFD decided to go with a Phoenix Cardinals–themed booth, decorated with jerseys and a football-field table. They also included a football toss for youth and adults to enjoy.
Although, the SRFD did not place in this year’s challenge the group is looking forward to participating again next year.