Plan to eat lunch at the Chili Challenge on March 1

This event kicks off local fundraising for the Hubbard County Food Shelf.

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Osage Sportsman's Club, which competed in 2020, returns this year with their "Bull's Eye Chili."
Enterprise file photo from March 2020

The Chili Challenge is next Wednesday, March 1, and local cooks will soon square off over simmering pots of chili.

Chili will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Park Rapids American Legion and everyone is invited to enjoy lunch while visiting with neighbors and supporting a good cause.

At 11 a.m., chili chefs will open up their pots. Chili samplers donate one dollar per cup of chili. Each dollar equals one vote – and ballot box stuffing with extra cash is encouraged, since it all helps the food shelf. A People’s Choice is awarded to whichever chili wins the most votes. The team to raise the most money also earns top honors.

Tantalizing recipes on this year’s menu include the following:

  • North Country Trail Association, "Hot on the Trail"
  • Enbridge, "Energy Rich Chili"
  • Hubbard County Republicans, "Black Powder Chili"
  • Park Rapids Lions, "Willy Nilly Lions Chili"
  • Calvary Lutheran Church, "Wild Game Delight"
  • Edward Jones, "Tax-Free Chicken Chili"
  • Citizens National Bank, "Carla's Chili"
  • Kathryn Schmidt, "Crave the Hunt" venison steak chili
  • Osage Sportsman's Club "Bull’s Eye Chili"
  • Nevis Lions Club, "Snow White & the 7 Ingredients"
  • Northview Bank, "Northview's Groovy Chili"
  • De La Hunt Media, "Hot Tower of Power"
  • Park Rapids Rotary Club, "Fireworks Chili with a Bang"
  • Heritage Community, “Heritage Hero’s Chili”
  • Charlie's Boat & Marine, “Dock Side Chili”
  • Lynn Denman and Mike Loeffler's “Boundary Waters Root Beer Chili”
  • Dick Dissmore for First English Church of Menahga, “Hog Chili”
  • RD Offutt Farm-Lamb West team Tator Tri, “Spud-Lovin Chili”
  • Northwoods Bank, “We Want Chili! Not Chilly! Chili”
  • Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce - Chili name to be announced

As of Friday afternoon, these were the 21 teams that had registered, meaning there is still room for only one more team to sign up.
Registration for the Chili Challenge is simple. Email the team name, phone number for a contact person in the organization and the chili name to or drop off the completed registration form that has been running in the newspaper at the Park Rapids Enterprise office, located in Bruhn Plaza on Hwy. 34 East. The address where the chili will be cooked should also be included.


This event kicks off local fundraising for the Hubbard County Food Shelf. The last Chili Challenge, held in 2020, raised over $12,000 for the food shelf.

In 2020, Citizens National Bank’s brew, “Coop to Scoop Chicken Chili Soup,” was voted the best-tasting chili. Their team has participated since the event’s beginning in 2009.

March donations matter

Hubbard County Food Shelf director Bob Hansen said donations in March have the greatest impact.

“We get an allocation of funds from Minnesota Food Share,” he said. “The allocation is based on the amount of food and cash received during March and food shelf use. Over the years, we’ve seen anywhere from $1,200 to $1,800 coming back to us. It’s not a huge chunk of money, but considering the high cost of food, it is very meaningful to us.”

Donations of both food items and cash are counted in the Food Share campaign.

Food donations may be brought to the food shelf Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ring the doorbell in back and food shelf staff will assist.

Checks may be sent to Hubbard County Food Shelf, 308 Pleasant Ave. S., Park Rapids, MN, 56470.

For more information about using the food shelf or volunteering, call Hansen at 218-732-1282.


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