Locals fight cancer with chili cook-off

Published 3:20 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the battle against cancer, various members of the Greenville community decided to fight fire with fire in the fourth annual Relay for Life Chili Cook-Off.

A $15 entry fee earned participants in Saturday’s event an evening of great chili, amateur entertainment and fun for all ages, with proceeds going toward the American Cancer Society.

The Butler County Fairgrounds served as the arena for the fiery face-off, with this year’s competitors ranging from the tried-and-true traditional chunky flavors to a zesty, chicken-infused variation.

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Cheese, crackers and even hotdogs were on standby to help adventurous taste testers stay afloat in a veritable sea of spicy goodness.

This year’s contest differed from those of recent years in that original sponsor Alacare Home Health and Hospice decided to split responsibilities with a few other Greenville organizations.

Tina Luker, event coordinator and leader of the Alacare team, said that the introduction of new sponsors could only serve to benefit the entire cook-off.

“Alacare is usually the main sponsor, but this year we divided it up with Quality Inn and Suites and BB&T,” Luker said. “We all joined up to make it a bigger and better event.”

Josh Smith and Ashley Adams represented Quality Inn and Suites and BB&T respectively, and the former took the blue ribbon in the contest with his unique chili blend.

The advent of new sponsors in turn led to the creation of new ideas, including the decision to combine this year’s chili cook-off with a talent show.

Despite the heated competition brewing within the kitchen, the true battle being waged was the one against an enemy that some Greenville residents knew all too well.

And although cancer has affected the lives of many, one sponsor’s own life experiences didn’t stop her from helping others — instead, it inspired her to take action.

“It’s very personal to me because my dad died of prostate cancer about a year and a half ago,” Luker said. “That’s why it means so much to me.  If they can find a cure for this, and help somebody else out, it would be great.”