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Cooking chili for a cause; Wheelhouse Chili Cook-off to benefit PNFD

PORT NECHES — There may not be a chill in the air but there will be chili in bowls on Saturday.

The Second Annual Wheelhouse Chili Cook-off is set for Saturday at the Neches River Wheelhouse restaurant, 720 Lee Ave., Port Neches.

The chefs will do all the work on site and patrons can pay $5 for a cup for sampling and vote on their favorite chili.

Tasting will begin around 10:30 a.m. and judging for first, second and third place as well as People’s Choice will begin around 1 p.m.

The chili cook-off is about more than bragging rights and a trophy. Lance Bradley, one of a group of investors who own the eatery, said this year proceeds go toward the Port Neches Fire Department.

“Last year the police department was raising funds to purchase a K9 and we thought the chili cook-off was a good way to help. We had such a good turnout we decided to make it an annual event and alternate between funds for the police department and fire department,” Bradley said.

The funds will help the fire department purchase high altitude-close proximity rigging equipment for rescues.

Port Neches Fire Chief Steve Curran said the department has a group of firefighters who are part of a team that perform these specialty rescues. Examples of high-altitude close proximity incidents include a rescue off of a ship on the Neches River as well as rescuing people form water towers and industrial towers.

“We are excited to be part of the Wheelhouse Chili Cook-off,” Curran said. “And my guys are really proud of their own chili and will be competing in the contest. They’re over here bragging and talking smack.”

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

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