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‘How do you pick 2 when there’s 17?’
Bethany’s annual soup, chili cook-off warms up folks on a chilly winter day
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

March 04. 2014 10:20AM
Luinea Caldwell’s soup had more than a catchy name at Saturday’s Souper Soup and Chili Contest. It had all the right flavor too, which landed Caldwell’s “Clog Your Arteries Cheesy Soup” the People’s Choice Award.

It wasn’t beginner’s luck for the first-time entrant though. She’s used to cooking competitions, but has dabbled more in the Dutch oven technique, which she had considered for Saturday’s contest.

“I kind of wanted to but I would’ve had to have it over a fire out here and I don’t know if they would’ve liked that or not,” she said.

Caldwell’s “People’s Choice” award winning soup came from a recipe she found out of a book or a magazine. “I never make up my own recipes,” she confesses, “But I’m always looking for recipes.”

Seems she found a good one this time with an equally flavorful name. And with ingredients like bacon, cheese, potatoes, half and half and garlic, you can’t go wrong.

“It has all the ingredients to (clog your arteries),” she adds.

Roy Beaird of Brandon didn’t go south for the winter this year like he did last year, so he opted to warm up on a snowy South Dakota Saturday with samples of 17 different homemade soups and chilis entered this year.

“I stayed home this year and now I get the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor,” said the retired Beaird. “Besides, it’s too cold to do anything else.”

Brandon Mayor Larry Beesley, a five-time “People’s Choice” winner with his “same as always” chili concoction featuring Mrs. Grimes beans, hamburger and Jimmy Dean sausage, was still popular a stop for the taste testers.

“It’s very good – nice and mild,” one lady remarked as she scooped up a spoonful.
Chides in another: “I bet you’re going to get my vote this year. You got it last year.”
Beesley said he doesn’t change his recipe.

“It’s what I make for my family; it’s what I make every time I make chili,” he said. “And I like my chili mild. I can eat more than one bowl at a sitting and not have heartburn or anything like that.”

Beesley stepped up his production from 28 quarts last year – because he almost ran out – to 31 quarts this year.

“People like chili, they really do,” he said.

Speaking of chili, the Garretson Fire Department, which had two entries this year, took the Firemen’s Challenge honors.

But it wasn’t the veteran firefighters from Garretson hawking their “Five Alarm Chili” that grabbed the “People’s Choice” attention. Instead it was department newbiew Cody, Jake and Jason that garnered the votes.

“Those guys are clowns,” said tenured Garretson firefighter Tony Olson of the inter-department competition. “They opened a bunch of cans … young kids.”

Turns out, though, the “young kids” had the right mix.

Valley Springs’ firefighter Barb Kirkpatrick, however, had another favorite: her department’s entry.

But there may have been other that tempted her taste buds.

“I haven’t tried them all yet,” she admits.

For Bethany Meadows resident Annie Kramer, the annual soup and chili contest doubles as a day for catching up with folks she hasn’t seen in a while.

“It’s nice to see people I haven’t seen for a long time,” she says, “and to try different kinds of soup, too.”

Brandon firefighter Troy Sabers didn’t help his department cook up one of their three entries, but he was on hand to support them all and try as many of the 17 entries as his stomach would permit.
“How do you pick two when there’s 17?” he asked.

But Sabers did give it the old college try, as he sampled all but two.

So why didn’t Sabers go the distance?

“They were out,” he says.

Donations raised at Saturday’s Souper Soup Contest and Firemen’s Chili Challenge will be divided and given to the four area fire departments: Brandon, Valley Springs, Split Rock and Garretson.

Tony Olson of the Garretson Fire Department dishes up a cup of their "Five Alarm Chili" entry in Bethany's Souper Soup Contest and Firemen's Chili Challenge on Saturday. Photo by Jill Meier

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