Avenue Flashes

A chilli tale from Chugwater, Wyoming

Posted 10/9/19

A few years ago I was driving from my house here in Golden to a gig with a band way up in Gillette Wyoming. That’s about a five or six hour drive from here. I had just had the transmission in my …

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Avenue Flashes

A chilli tale from Chugwater, Wyoming


A few years ago I was driving from my house here in Golden to a gig with a band way up in Gillette Wyoming. That’s about a five or six hour drive from here. I had just had the transmission in my car replaced and was happy that I was going to be making the journey in a vehicle that was rejuvenated, tuned up and ready for a long road trip. For several weeks it had been acting a little sketchy.

So, off I go. Drum set and luggage in the back and snacks in the passenger seat next to me. Smooth sailing all the way past Cheyenne. Then, while doing about 80 miles an hour, I hear some kind of a clunk then this horrible sort of dragging sound and by some miracle I was able to coast off and up a nearby exit ramp and get the car stopped in a clearing next to whatever road I had exited onto.

So now I’m kind of in the middle of nowhere. No problem, I have this roadside rescue thing included with my cell phone plan. So I call them up, hoping to get a tow truck sent out. I get this operator located in Baltimore or someplace back east and she asks me where I am. The only sign I can see is a billboard that says Chugwater Wyoming, home of the famous Chugwater Chili, one mile ahead.

The conversation went something like this. Me: I’m about a mile south of Chugwater Wyoming. Her: What kind of water? Me: Chugwater. Her: Slugwater? Me: No, chug. C-H-U-G. Chugwater. Her: What kind of water is that, are you near a lake or something? Me: No, it’s a town in Wyoming. Chugwater Wyoming. It’s right off I-25. It’s famous for it’s chili. Her: You’re chilly? Do you have a jacket or protective clothing?

This went on for about 10 minutes. She never did find the place on whatever map she was looking at. Luckily she could find Cheyenne and get me a tow truck from there.

Yes, Chugwater is famous for it’s chili. Just how famous is up for debate, I guess. But there are a many places that are famous, in a lot of different circles, for their chili too. There are also a lot of opinions on the subject and all kinds of names for the various chili recipes around the Country. Texas Chili, Roadhouse Chile, Firehouse Chili, Chili Con Carne, Coney Island Chili, the list goes on and on. There are also color descriptions. Red, green, white and a few that are a little bit hard to describe.

I think everybody either has or knows someone with the best chili recipe anywhere. A lot of people seem to enjoy cooking this stuff and show off their concoctions. If you like home made chili, let me share my very simple, but delicious recipe here with you. Go to the grocery store. Find the aisle with the spices and gravy mixes. Look for a packet of chili mix. There are several different brands, so just pick the one that’s on sale. Look at the back of the package and run around the store gathering whatever other ingredients it lists there. Take it all home and follow the directions on the back of the package. Yeah, I know…But it’s a step up from just buying a can, right? Maybe not. Some of that stuff in the cans is pretty good.

That brings me to this weekend’s event here in Golden. It’s the 12th Annual “Knock Your Boots Off” Beer Tasting & Chili Cook Off. It’s going to happen on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 1-4 p.m. at Parfet Park in Golden. It’s presented by the Golden Chamber of Commerce and benefits St. Jude’s Hospital.

For the price of admission you get to taste chili samples from dozens of individuals, businesses and restaurants who are all competing for top honors in various chili categories. You also get to enjoy beer samples from about 32 breweries. There will be other food vendors too, but their products are not included in the admission price. Plus, they have live music from a band called Half Pint and the Growlers. Tickets run $35 at the gate and you get a free beer tasting cup and a ballot to vote for your favorite chili. Since this event involves beer, IDs will be required to enter.

If you like chili and fancy yourself a bit of a connoisseur or if you like beer, a lot, then this is the place to be this weekend. Parfet Park is located on the corner of Washington Ave. and 10th Street here in Golden. For more information go to www.goldenbeerchilicookoff.org or call the Golden Chamber at (303) 279-3113.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com


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