JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
CASTELL — What began as a reason for locals to gather and visit has turned into an all-day affair for the Castell community.
The fourth annual Castell General Store Chili Cook-off is Feb. 21 at the store, 19522 RR 152 West.
“It’s grown each year,” said Marc Nicole, general store owner and chili cook-off organizer. He added that the event drew eight cooks in the first year; last year, it had 21 cooks (although the competition is typically limited to 20 cooks.)
Some people arrive Feb. 20 with their travel gear to find a spot near the general store, Nicole said.
The entry fee is $25 with the winner getting 50 percent of the purse, second place taking 35 percent and third place receiving 15 percent.
Last year’s winning chili had an unusual meat combination, Nicole said.
“They announced the winner and announced jack rabbit,” he said. “(The winning cook) ground up jack rabbit and (pork sausage).”
Chili makers can begin cooking at 10 a.m. with judging at 4 p.m. Then, a couple of guitar players will entertain the crowd during the evening until about 10 p.m.
One of the judges this year is Larry Otto, who qualified for the Chili Appreciation Society International’s annual chili championship in Terlingua in November.
For more information on the Castell cook-off, call Nicole at (325) 247-4100.