911 Chili Cook-Off Supports Saving Forgotten Warriors

by | Feb 12, 2018 | Breaking News, County News, Cullman, Cullman Tonight, Images, Interviews, Videos

IMAGES Cullman Kiwanis Club Pancake Day 2017
911 Chili Cook-Off Supports Saving Forgotten Warriors

Intermittent heavy rains influenced attendance at the 911 Chili Cook-Off.

Despite the wet weather conditions, charitable donations for the 2018 version of the 91-1 Chili Cook-Off exceeded the gate from 2017.

Cullman Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) held this increasingly popular event at their facility in the heart of downtown Cullman between 11 am and 4 pm Saturday.

Law enforcement, fire department, dispatch, and emergency medical response agencies from across Cullman County participated. They offered the general public some of their most tasty and coveted chili recipes.

Admission was only $1.00 for all the chili a patron could eat.

Moneyman for the event – Maurice Reynolds of Logan Fire & Rescue – never had time to leave his ticket sales booth at the front door. According to Reynolds:

“I think the rain kept some people away. Even so, our turnout was at least as good as last year. I hardly moved for the whole five hours. Everyone involved is appreciative for the steady stream of support from the community. We collected almost $2,000 … that is a lot of chilies!”

As expected there was stiff competition among the various agencies seeking to win the three awards made available to the different chili chefs:

PEOPLE’S CHOICE (from a tally of $1 ticket stubs placed in a jar at each team’s table).

DIRECTOR’S CHOICE (as determined by the discerning palate of Cullman EMS Director James Curtis)

HOTTEST CHILI (as determined by the scorched palate of Cullman Today’s Tim Collins)

While there was not a bad batch of chili offered, some of the emergency response agency Chefs entered in this event stood out and were recognized for their superior recipes:

Sgt. Daniel Cummings representing Cullman County Sheriffs Office DEFENDED his title once again winning the People’s Choice Award – for the third straight year – with a robust creation featuring New Mexico spices and 80 pounds of premium beef.

The 2017 third place winner – Adam Taylor representing Cullman Fire Rescue – got 2nd place this year. Many observers thought his recipe was best as evidenced by a narrow ticket margin between him and Cummings.

Charlie Givens of Hanceville Fire & Rescue came out of nowhere. He dreamed up his white chicken chili sometime after midnight Saturday during a sleepless walk through Walmart.

Cumming’s agent – Chris Villa – called the Cummings victory “a significant milestone in Cullman chili history.” Villa anticipates fielding offers for a television show for his client in the coming days.

In the Director’s Choice category, former Cinderella Story entrant Jared Johnson of Logan Fire & Rescue proved his win in 2017 was no fluke. Johnson’s recipe was deemed the best again in 2018 by Cullman EMS Director James Curtis.

The HOTTEST Chili award also went to Jared Johnson.

He squeaked by in this category with this writer/judge deeming his creation a tie with another entrant. Spicy food aficionado – Barbie Weissend Blake – was enlisted from the crowd to break the tie. She chose Johnson’s Chinese pepper infused dish as the winner.

A variety of sweet door prizes were also given out during the event. Chad Knop won the grand prize: two (2) platinum Rock the South tickets!

In this interview, we speak with 2018 People’s Choice winner Sergeant Daniel Cummings as well as his handler Chris Villa. Joining in is Jared Johnson and his rising star kitchen assistant Laney:

The beautiful and talented Jennifer Young of Cullman EMS coordinated the event. She explained the reasons the 911 Chili Cook-Off originally came into being:

“This event was created in 2016. The idea was to get all emergency responders professionals together in a non-emergency, non-work environment and interact personally with each other. We also thought it would be a great idea to invite the citizens we serve on a daily basis to come out and meet their emergency responders from across the County. Add in great food, healthy competition with proceeds going to great charity causes, and you can see the very positive results today.”

Proceeds from this 3rd annual event will go to support the charitable endeavors of top Cullman non-profit organization, Saving Forgotten Warriors.

The musical guests at the 9-1-1 Chili Cook-Off were outstanding and well-received with Cullman’s Live 95.5 carry the proceedings live.

Bai Brooke (@bai_b_music: Instagram) met the mood of the event with her elegant rendition of ‘Purple Rain’:

911 Chili Cook-Off Supports Saving Forgotten Warriors

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Cullman EMS

911 Chili Cook-Off Supports Saving Forgotten Warriors

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.

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