Chili cooks set to fill Billingsly with spice

The Missouri Southern Alumni Association will kick off homecoming week with a little spice.

The group will host a chili cook-off at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 9 on the first floor of Billingsly Student Center. Booths will be set up and small cups of chili will be available at each booth for anyone who wishes to try a contestant’s chili.

“We looked at different types of tailgating cook-out events,” said Lee Elliff Pound, alumni director. “We thought this would be the best type of event.”

“At first it was going to be a tailgate cook-off, but then our homecoming committee came together and decided to do a chili cook-off,” said Elisa Bryant, alumni relations coordinator. “We kind took the idea from the criminal justice department. They used to do it, but they haven’t for the last couple of years so we just took it on. Hopefully we can start a Homecoming tradition.”

The chili will be judged on best overall taste, best name of chili, and best presentation of chili.

“We have three alumni association board members who are going to help out judging,” Bryant said. “We have a Joplin Globe reporter, and we have a faculty member from Missouri Southern.”

While there are no limitations to the ingredients used for a competing chili, there are a few rules to the contest. For instance, a contestant cannot refuse to try his own chili.

“We aren’t looking for anything super-spicy,” Bryant said. “The prize goes to the best taste.”

First prize for the best overall chili will be a crock-pot, a set of cooking utensils, a cake pan, corn bread, a can of chili beans and a package of chili powder. Judges will be looking for chili names and booth designs that correlate with the Homecoming theme: NASCAR.

“We never had an event like this,” Pound said. “This is just to kick off Homecoming. You tailgate before football games. You tailgate before racecar events. So why not kick off the Homecoming week that is a NASCAR theme, with a chili cook-off.”

“It gets everybody involved,” Bryant said. “We didn’t have anything for Homecoming that we got everybody involved in; students, faculty and staff. We hope that everybody will want to get involved.”