Photographic report from the Chili Cookoff

This weekend was the big Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff, and I made the sacrifice of eating a whole bunch of chili outdoors on a beautiful fall day, just to bring you this report. You’re welcome.

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Chili cookoff Potentate Guy Bower was broadcasting his Good Life show live from the festival, and he put me on the air for a few minutes. He also interviewed Hyatt chef David Wirebaugh, seen here. Wirebaugh was the City of Wichita's secret weapon at its booth. He cooked the city chili and made the city salsa.

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Here's Wirebaugh, stirring one of his chili concoctions.

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Here's my mom, sampling the salsa at the city's booth. Wirebaugh made some pretty incredible salsa and served it with thick, homemade fried flour tortillas. I probably sampled it seven times. City councilwoman Janet Miller served ably as the Double Dipping Police.

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These folks were having a super hot time. They were among several groups of friends who entered the cookoff just for fun.

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The Mudbugs, my friend Jaime's increasingly famous Cajun and Zydeco band, were the chili fest entertainment. (Above is Erin Craddock, the tutu wearing triangle player.) Their stage was a bit too far back from the action, but their music added just the right spice.

I’m told I’ll get a list of winners later today. I’ll post them here as soon as I do.

Chili cookoff time

Those Wagonmasters have mastered the art of chili cooking.

Those Wagonmasters have mastered the art of chili cooking.

Fall temperatures should arrive just in time for one of the most fun and spicy fall food-related events in Wichita: The annual Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff.

The event is scheduled for Saturday afternoon and will be staged in a closed-off area in the 600 block of East Douglas, between St. Francis and the railroad tracks.

Attendees buy a $5 tasting kit and then can sample all 50 competitors’ creations, listen to the Cajun beats of the Mudbugs band, send their kids on rides, witness a pepper eating contest and more.

I’ll be there supporting the Mudbugs — and celebrating the official start to chili making season.