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SPICEWOOD — When Craig Schlicke helped organize the inaugural Spicewood Community Center Barbecue and Chili Cook-off last year, he was hoping for enough cooks to make it interesting. Being the first year and all, one doesn’t necessarily anticipate a big turnout.

The actual turnout shattered Schlicke’s expectations.

“Yeah, it was great,” he said. “I didn’t think we’d get that many.”

In all, the first cook-off attracted 50 chili cooks, 27 barbecue cookers and seven emergency services/first responder teams.

“This year, we’re hoping for even a bigger group,” Schlicke said.

The second annual event is May 22-24 at 128 Spur 191 Spicewood (behind the Spicewood General Store.) The event benefits the Spicewood Community Center, which continues to serve the area as a place organizations can meet and families can hold reunions and even weddings.

The public isn’t just invited to attend the event, but they can also play a role in who wins the coveted People’s Choice Chili on May 23.

Schlicke said one of the things he saw at many chili cook-offs was spectators not feeling like they had a role in the event. So the Spicewood event is letting the people pick their favorite chili.

“People can pay $5, and we’ll give them a poker chip,” he explained. “Then, they can go around and try the chili. And they put the poker chip in the bucket of the chili they like the most.”

The cook who collects the most poker chips earns the People’s Choice Chili honor.

The cooks are also vying for some cash prizes with a total of $2,500 in the pot. The entries are beans, chicken, ribs, chili, pulled pork and brisket. The main competition and judging takes place May 23 with registration opening at 8:30 a.m.

The People’s Choice Chili selection is 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The event cranks up May 22 with a vendors, set-up and even a motorcycle poker run. The poker run is at 10 a.m.

On May 24, cooks get one more shot at chili.

The Highland Lakes POD of the Chili Appreciation Society International and the Lonestar Barbecue Society are sponsoring the event.

And, Schlicke added, there will be a kids carnival on Saturday as well.

“Come on out. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.

Contact Schlicke at (512) 507-9089 or at for more information about the event, vendor information or how to be a judge.