Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chili Cook-off

We're going today to the Truckee Chili Cook-off which is being held at Truckee River Regional Park three blocks from my house. I have no idea what to expect since it's the first time this has been done, but I've been to chili cookoffs before and they're fun. You get to sample different kinds of chili which can be a little risky vis-a-vis highly incendiary gut bomb fare, but they're usually pretty good.

One of the highlights will be the presence of the Railroad Regulators 601, a local western re-enactment group composed of many of our leading citizens.

Now, with more than 30 members, the regulators put on such events as Railroad Days and Windows on History, to entertain and educate locals about the rich history of this little mountain town. Apparently, Truckee wasn’t as sleepy in the 1800s as many believe it to be.

Even their name, the Regulators 601, is historic, borrowed from other groups that lived in Truckee near the end of the 19th century.

These groups' main tools were tar, feathers, and nooses. Called by some these days 'supplements to law enforcement', they were vigilantes who would often settle personal scores with their quasi-official status along with legit public safety incidents.

To keep in line with the times, Deveney says its important for this "bunch of old guys playing cowboys" to have their own corruptible politician at hand, namely Susman. "He can’t be bought, but he can be rented damn cheaply," Deveney jokes.

Well, that's some historical accuracy that persists today! Mr. Susman is a real nice guy and a former Mayor of our town. Go read about these folks at the link.

One of my oldest friends in town, Dennis Cook, is one of the ramrods of the Regulators. A Vietnam Navy UDT Vet who still has to kill you after he tells you where all he went from Vietnam, and bail bondsman. I've worked for him on occasion going after bail skips. Pretty boring, not at all like 'Dog the Bounty Hunter', although when Dennis hands you a snubnose .38 and tells you to watch his back, it gets real interesting real quick!

The Regulators go to all our local events, and put on a good, fun show. The best one I saw was when they were staging a ten-participant shootout and one of 'em didn't quite get his old-fashioned .45 hogleg out of the holster before it went off and got himself right in the foot with a blank! Extremely entertaining! We're talkin' dumbass country fuck type fun here, folks!

I'll either find ya a video of these gents in action or maybe I'll take one myself. See yas later.


We're back. The event was a lot of fun. We were there for about an hour and a half, and in that time there was a band doing '60s tunes and an a cappella men's chorale in proper western dress.

Did I mention there was chili tasting? Admission was free, but tasting cost ten bucks. Well worth every penny, and the money went to the local Rotary Club.

The Truckee-Donner Public Utility District was there promoting their conservation program by giving away CFLs. I brought home a dozen 13-watters in a nice canvas shopping bag. I've been using these for a while, but if it's for free, it's for me.

There were 16 different chili cooks there. The basic load-out was a 4oz. cup from each one, but you could have all you wanted. You do the math, I'm afraid to. It's doable, but the jury's still out on the wisdom of it. I'll let ya know. Realistically, I scarfed down somewhere around a quart of some really good chili, from hot sauce with hamburger in it to granola bar tofu chili with added soybeans and lime, and everything in between, most of it recognizable as chili. It was all good.

I hope the term 'cook-off' isn't prescient. If a coupla o' them 16 chilis get ta arguin' in my innards, a 'cook off' is not out of the question. So far, so good...

Most of the cooks were locals, such as the local firefighters, the aforementioned TDPUD, and some restaurants. There was "Old Fart's (sic) Makin' Chili" and one eerily titled "A Journey's End". Go see. Cynthia had never considered the dark irony of naming a chili that until I brought it up. Cracked her up. Heh.

My favorite display was "Gilmore's Garage Chili". Click the pic and blow it up. Note the display of air fresheners, jumper cables, fan belts, and funnels, all essential accoutrements for serious chili eaters.

I sorta missed the very beginning of the Railroad Regulators act with the camera. These were the only ones who showed up. Two of the old farts pushed each other around and insulted each other quite comedically and brandished foot-long Arkansas toothpicks at each other. And then the sheriff stepped in and...

The Great Truckee Chili Cook-off Shootout

Just as an aside, the early '50s Chevy pickup was for sale, asking price $22,000. That's an awful lot for one of those. Mrs. G's niece just picked up a '50 one of those, one owner with an actual 100,000 miles on it for $8000 (deductible as business expense, her husband owns a supermarket), and I thought that was a lot. When I think of the ones I've bought for $250, got runnin', and sold for $500 and thought I was gettin' over...

We had a great time. This was the '1st Annual' one of these deals, and we'll be there at the second and beyond. There's always stuff like this goin' on in small towns and all ya have to do is get off yer ass and go to have some fun.

In two weeks it'll be Cannibal Cruise time again.

No comments: