Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials welcomed about 8,000 people over the weekend for their annual Fun in the Sun Chili Cookoff at the Jack Bones Equestrian Center in Castaic.
The cookoff, which has been a tradition for more than 25 years, raised approximately $30,000 for Special Olympics, said Sgt. Gerri McCorkle of the Pitchess Detention Center.
“I think that this year we outdid ourselves,” McCorkle said. “We improved the layout with a ‘Chili Row,’ we had 50 vendors and a car show, and we expanded the event, which brought in more people and, ultimately, raised more money for the Special Olympics.”
Each of the 28 participants brought in 25 gallons of chili, which is the equivalent of about one and a half deep fryers’ worth of chili, McCorkle said.
The Chili Grandmaster came from the Medical Services Bureau of the Sheriff’s Department, which produced Dex’ Mex, named after the hit TV show “Dexter.”
The Judges’ Choice was the COPS Bureau, and the People Choice went to the Major Crimes Unit.
“One thing I found exciting as we expand this event is that we had the District Attorney’s Office from Compton participate this year,” McCorkle said, talking about how the department has tried to grow the event in its effort to help the Special Olympics.
Each team decorates its booth and prepares gallons of chili to compete for honors in three separate categories – sweet, mild and hot.