Belton Hosts State Chili Cookoff Saturday
Monday, April 11, 2011 at 9:51PM

     Dozens of cooks from across the country are tuning their forks and getting ready for Saturday’s S.C. Chili Cook-off Championships presented by MSW Security in downtown Belton.
     Professional chili and salsa winners will head on to world-level competition sanctioned by the International Chili Society. Amateur cooks can also submit their best chili and salsa recipes for a shot at the People’s Choice Award.  
     The professional competition is bringing cooks from as far as Seymour, Ind., where Julie and Jim Nester, both award-winning cooks, live. Mrs. Nester has 27 state or regional wins. Her husband has 26. Also planning to compete are Domino Ireland of Raleigh, N.C.; Lynn Ellis of Acworth, Ga.; Ken Copeland of Greer; Don Stuewe and Matt Stuewe, both of Tampa, Fla., John Blackwell of Kennesaw, Ga.; Keith Mayfield of Childersburg, Ala.; Mike Singleton of Havelock, N.C.; Sue Eutermoser and Gary Williams, both of Fayetteville Ga.; and Eric Noble of Kennesaw; Debbie Turner of Waxachachie, Texas; Georgia and Jim Weller of Rockton, Ill.; Mark Ponder of Charlotte, N.C.
      They will all be trying to oust last year’s S.C. state champ Allen Querbin of Marion.
Mike Freedman is coming from “up north” to act as chief judge for the event. He will join a full fleet of area judges.
       “We are looking for great spring weather and a lot of really good cooking, as well as fun, live music and what will be a great Saturday outing for families,” said Jim Bright, one of the event organizers.
      In addition to chili and salsa, the event will feature live music from Jack Roper and the Weatherman, Another BS Session Band and the Sidekick band, along with children’s rides with an all-day pass from SpaceWalk of Anderson for $10, drink sales benefiting the Boys Home of the South, arts, crafts and much more. Food will include everything from chili and salsa to baked goods and southern staples like boiled peanuts. In addition, Belton woodworker Gene Jameson will be on hand with his souvenir cook-off knives for sale, along with event T-shirts.
      The second annual event will benefit three nonprofit organizations - Belton Area Museum Association, Belton Center for the Arts and the Belton Interfaith Ministerial Association.
      “We look forward to helping them even more in 2011,” said Bright about the non-profit.
     Admission for this year’s event will be $5 and the donation of one canned good item that will go directly to the Belton Interfaith Ministerial Association for its food pantry.
For more information, check out the event website at www.
About the event: The second annual Upstate Chili Cook-off is the only chili cook-off in the state endorsed by the International Chili Society. The winning professional entries will qualify to compete on a world level. Prizes will be awarded to the top pros and amateurs, as well as the best vendor booth and best showmanship. This year’s event will feature both chili and salsa competitions on the historic square in downtown Belton. All proceeds benefit local charities. Belton is located in Anderson County.

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (
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