The first notice received by the Detachment was the email from Master Sgt Condo (who won the pistol raffle two years ago). The cook-off was announced at the January membership meeting and Mike Suhor, Chris Meinhardt, and Jeff Hearn agreed to participate. I sent the application form and check ($20.00) on 19 Jan 2018; Mike Suhor put the rules on the LeagueLog website. Mike and Chris discussed the steps that had to be taken at the Officers’ Meeting on 8 Feb 2018. On Friday night, 9 Feb 2018, Chris called me from the Brass Tap meeting; he and Jeff Hearn needed the Detachment banner and table used for recruiting. I agreed to be at the National Guard Armory at 0930 hours to help out.
Mike Suhor and I were at the Armory on time, then Jeff showed up at 0945 with a fly tent and flags. We had everything set up when Chris arrived at 1000 with the chili, which he stayed up all night cooking. He and Mike got the gas burners heating up the chili and we were ready for the judging. Dan Fraser came to help out. Eventually, Henry Lowery, Frank Roycraft, Washington Sanchez, and Fred Ingley participated in the cook-off. Sarah Meinhardt arrived with little Barrett, and they brought cooked rice, which would be covered with chili.
Marines Jeff Hearn, Chris Meinhardt, and Mike Suhor are preparing for the judging at the Chili Cook-Off.
To help defray the costs, Mike gave Chris $60.00, but Chris has not stated how much he had to spend altogether to make the chili and provide other necessities: gas for the grills, spoons, cups, crackers, cheese, sour creme, etc. A blind test was conducted in the afternoon; the booths were also evaluated for spirit and cleanliness. The wind gusts got to be a problem at times, but none of the tents were blown over. And it never rained even though the day was heavily clouded.
Junior Vice Commandant Mike Suhor dishing out tasty chili with Marine Dan Fraser’s assistance.
Once we started serving chili to customers, Mike sat next to the chili pots and served while Dan and Chris handed him cups with and without rice which they then gave to the customers. We eventually served all of the chili: People said it was good! Chris worked hard on making it — which is the first time he ever made chili. There were no complaints.
Marine Mike Suhor debating whether or not to taste the chili one more time.
As a recruiting tool, the chili cook-off worked out pretty well: We got two names of the prospective members while giving away about 20 “Round Tuit” wooden coins. More people in the Tallahassee area are aware of the Marine Corps League and Detachment #472. As usual, the red covers were more prevalent than other veterans’ groups in any kind of uniform. The Detachment should definitely plan on participating in this event next year.
Here are some things that could be done better:
- Use the Detachment’s tent and flags (they have our name on them);
- Have an internal cook-off to allow others to demonstrate their recipes;
- Get a serving spoon which measures exactly the amount to be served;
- Get more Marines involved.