The 47th Annual Terlingua Chili Cook-off takes place this coming weekend. You’ll find as many versions of how the Terlingua Chili Cook-off began as there are recipes for chili.
The bottom line is that in 1967, Terlingua was chosen as an unbiased location for Wick Fowler and Carroll Shelby to settle a bet as to who was the King of Chili. Other stakeholders were Frank X. Tolbert, who wrote for the Dallas Morning News, and H. Allen Smith, author of the article, “Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do.”
Forty-six years later, the real winners are organizations that benefit from the festivities, such as the Terlingua schools, the Brewster County EMS, and others. While few folks remember the history or the circumstances that caused the cook-off to fork into several different directions, thousands show up every year as qualified contestants in the CASI cook-off, cooks at the “Behind the Store” venue or as spectators or revelers at either or both.
KRTS News will be live on-the-scene on Monday, October 28, from the site of the original cook-off near the Terlingua Ghost Town.