Crowds gathered Saturday in Philippi for the 15th annual Smokin' on the Tygart chili cookoff, where 23 registered cooks offered their tastiest concoctions in an effort to win top honors and bragging rights.
Individuals, organizations and businesses competed for the best chili, people's choice and a variety of other awards.
Sam Schola, a chili cookoff participant since it started, often earns the people's choice awards - and this year was no exception. He won rave reviews with his recipe for "Sam's Hillbilly Chili," and he also was awarded third place in the competition for individual cooks.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Members of the Hu C. Myers Society of Alderson-Broaddus College entertain guests Saturday with their dance to ‘YMCA’ in the Courthouse square beside their cook’s booth during the annual Smokin’ on the Tygart chili cookoff in Philippi. They were awarded Best Dressed Cooks and second place in the chili cookoff division for organizations. Additional photos can be found online at cu.theintermountain.com.
First place in the individual division went to Philippi Church of the Nazarene, and second place went to Ronnie McDermott and Ryan Vavrick.
First place for the organization division went to Philippi Church of the Nazarene as well. Second place went to Hu C. Myers Society of Alderson-Broaddus College, and third place was awarded to Haven of Hope Church.
In the business division, The Myers Clinic won first place, Barbour County Bank won second place and Allegheny Insurance won third place for its chili.
Jeanette Snider, who has made chili with her daughter, Miranda Snider, in past competitions, said they always enjoy the event.
"It's fun. We actually won last year, second place," she said. The pair named their chili Groovin' Good Chili.
There also were many other contests and events.
An award for best dressed cooks went to Hu C. Myers Society of Alderson-Broaddus College. Best chili name went to Doug Snider, Pat Hollen and Kent Smith. Rochelle and Jim Sutton won an award for best booth, while the most atomic chili award went to Dave Fenstermacher.
First place in the kid's chili contest went to Skyla Fenstermacher, and first place in the kid's salsa contest went to Stephanie Santilli.
In the corn hole tournament, Brian Kisamore and Ronnie Steerman of Philippi finished as champions. They said they have won the contest four out of five participating years.
Two eating contests took place Saturday, a hot dog contest and a hot pepper contest. Tommy McGuire of Philippi ate the most hot dogs in three minutes, beating out four other competitors. And without a flinch, Mike Wells, chef production manager at Alderson-Broaddus College, finished off his bowl of hot peppers before his other two competitors could catch up.
The poker run also took place Saturday. Harley Green of Simpson won best hand, furthest traveled and best of show. The award for being the oldest biker went to Larry Moyer of Kingwood.
Anissa Riffle of Philippi was awarded most deuces and worst hand. Bub Riffle of Philippi was awarded most jacks. David Cale of Philippi was awarded most aces and best custom bike.
The funds earned from the poker run benefit the Mikey Hart Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships every year.
The fund was put in place in memory of Hart, a firefighter in Belington who was killed in a vehicle accident with a tractor-trailer on Dec. 20, 2005. Hart was traveling from Huttonsville to Elkins after teaching a Firefighter I class with his father.
This year's scholarships were awarded to Philip Barbour High School students Megan Wetzel and Seth Fitzwater. Scholarships also were awarded to Lauren Klesmeier of Martinsburg, Joshua Todd of Capon Bridge, Miranda Thomas of Fairmont and two students attending the Junior Firefighter Camp at Jackson's Mill.
Saturday's annual chili cookoff was a Philippi Main Street event, and it was sponsored by Barbour County Bank, Alderson-Broaddus College, Broaddus Hospital, Philippi CVB, Shop & Save, Schoonover and Stemple Funeral Homes, Sports & Spokes and Lil Moe's.
The chili cookoff, corn hole contest, eating contests and poker run weren't the only events that occurred Saturday in Barbour County.
Many Belington residents set up yard sales for an annual citywide yard sale event, and the Belington Library sold books and concessions to raise money toward relocating the library.
"Hopefully someday we'll have a new library," said Janet Bolton, a founding board member. She added that the library's largest fundraiser, Run for it, is scheduled to take place Sept. 29, and the registration deadline is Sept. 15.