It’s amazing how busy we get during this time frame of the year. We still have our ‘fall’ old-time music festival, Oct. 3-4-5-6 in Fremont, Neb., and two more shows at the Oak Tree Opry in Anita. That alone keeps us constantly going, plus trying to get some brick work done on the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita. The museum is part of our 501©3 non-profit adventure, so as soon as we can find some money we’ll be doing that. It sure takes it’s toll on our time, BUT one of our super good friends from California, Ro Taylor, along with her sister Jayne, were participants in the World’s Chili Cookoff, which moved to Ankeny this year. It’s been going since 1967, and Ro and her husband won the championship some years ago when it was at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha. The chili organizers signed a contract to be in Ankeny for the next four years. Ro asked if we’d like to come spend some time with them as they prepared their chili for the judging. First prize $25,000. Hmmm, this does sound interesting. We had a nice show at the Oak Tree on Friday night, but we were free on Saturday and Sunday, so off the three of us went on a new adventure. Also to be noted, both of these ladies parents and grandparents lived in Anita. They are related to Bob Duff who also lives in California. I asked the ladies how life was doing in California, and they both agreed, “a lot of people are moving out, to a less expensive life style.”
To be a participant in the ‘world’ competition you had to have already won one regional contest and one state-wide contest. Both Ro and Jayne had done that of course (Ro took her state championship in New Mexico). Both ladies did chili, but quite differently. Ro’s was by my standards a very edible home-style red chili with hamburger, pinto and kidney beans and of course her ‘secret’ spices. I thought it was terrific. Jayne, on the other hand, made a ‘green’ chili, which contained lots of any kind of green pepper she could find I think. Ummm, one taste told me that you’d better be prepared for wet eyes it was so hot. Still, she got more of the ‘people’s choice votes’ than Ro did. Go figure. Maybe because it’s a fairly young crowd, and it was teeming, even though it rained on Saturday afternoon and misted Sunday, They still had a huge crowd. Jayne also made a green ‘non-meat’ chili, no hamburger, but it’s surprising what she can do with the new food products that are available today. They had to fly everything in from California, so when it was all over, they wanted us to take what they didn’t use so they wouldn’t have to fly it back to California. We wound up with several large boxes of chili in plastic bags, a gallon of unopened Bush’s Beans, and a lot of unopened cans of various chili flavorings. We’ll be eating chili for a long time, then on the other hand, perhaps we’ll just have some ‘chili-dogs’ at our next Oak Tree show on Sept. 20 featuring Lee Muller from Kansas and Chari Heldenbrand from Michigan. Good show on Sept. 20.
The ‘fall’ season seems to be on us already, maybe a little bit early. We can feel it in the morning air, the golden-rods and rag-weed are in full force, my sneezes tell me that, and even the birds are ‘grouping’ a little early. Could mean an early and long winter. Have to find my Farmer’s Almanac. It’s usually right.