Chiliheads from all across Texas and throughout the nation will converge on South Padre Island May 5 for the 4th ICS sanctioned RGV Regional Chili & Salsa Cook Off at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark.

Considered a favorite leg of the International Chili Society’s annual chili cook off series, the event will once again attract some of the finest chili cooks in the nation.

Chili teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Nevada have already signed on for the competition. The winner of this regional cook off qualifies for the World Championships which will be held this year in Omaha, Nebraska this fall.

Appearing at the cook off and serving up their chili will be former ICS World Champion Ed “Doc” Pierczynski. Also a noted chili cook, Cindy Wilkins of Houston has entered the competition. Wilkins won the local regional cook off in 2005 and was later challenged by the Food Network’s Bobby Flay, popular host of the TV series “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” another famous Texas chef. In that nationally televised event, Wilkins chili recipe was declared the winner!

This year’s event coincides with Cinco de Mayo, a popular Mexican holiday celebrated widely throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Texas. Thousands are expected to attend when chili teams compete for best red and green chili, best salsa, and the popular people’s choice award.

Event organizer Denny Bortko, a former ICS champion (Missouri State Champion and South Dakota regional champion), says he expects the largest gathering ever for the Island event, a favorite spring activity for Valley chili lovers.

“If you appreciate high quality chili, then this is the place to be May 5th,” he reports. “You’re not going to find better chili anywhere. This is it.”

Special guests of this year’s chili cook off will be last year’s verde chili world champion, Jerry Simmons and wife, who have agreed to help Bortko “in what ever way necessary.” Bortko, an experienced chili judge, also will serve as chief judge for this event.

Bortko reports it’s not too late to enter the competition. Locals daring enough to compete in this classic chili cook off can still register by visiting the official Web site: www.chilicookoffspi.com. Cook off divisions include red chili (no beans), verde (green) chili, and best salsa.

You can call Bortko for more information at 956- 434-9164.



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