The Winter Park, Colorado Back to Backs are BACK!!!!!!!!! After not having the event for the first time in years in 2012, WP has a new crew involved and they have brought this event back in a big way.  Day one was the High Altitude Flamethrowers District Championship and we got the requisite numbers for all 3 events to count, with the red winner making it into Last Chance and the Salsa and Chili Verde winners punching their tickets to the WCCC in Palm Springs in October.  And the crowd??  WP set a new one day record of $1500.00 in tasting kit sales on Saturday.  The new location in The Village worked out fantastic on that count.  Lots of mountain bikers, families up from Denver and the locals descended in droves on all the cooking teams and wiped out all their stores of PC chili in record time.  Phuong Cronin, Cookoff chairperson and her people were busy all day and provided me with very good help in the judging area.  Saturday’s winners were:

Best Booth

Gary Hunt, Duck Blind Chili Team

Peoples Choice

Al Henry


3rd - Stephanie Richardson - CO

2nd - Greg Virant - NE

1st - Kathy Weiss - CO

Chili Verde

3rd - Judy Wedemeyer - CO

2nd - Kathy Weiss - CO

1st - Bonnie Tomasek - CO

Red Chili

3rd - Steve Tomasek III - CO

2nd - Lynn Kost Virant - NE

1st - Mike Rook - CO


Day two went even smoother than day one as the WP crew had learned what needed to be done. Thanks to Bonnie Tomasek for her help on Sunday numbering the booths and judging Salsa and Chili Verde for us.  Sunday crowd was not quite as heavy, but the chili still flowed freely. We were joined by a few more cooks, as Sunday was the Colorado State Championship. Sunday saw 15 red chilis, 13 chili verdes and 15 salsas.  With those numbers and the unqualified Colorado cooks who were not there, I know the numbers are there to get Saturday upgraded next year from district to the time tested and one of the oldest names out there, the Rocky Mountain Regional!  You just have to believe in this cookoff as I do and it WILL happen!  Had qualified red cooks Al Henry, George Lott and Adrian Fuhrman help do the Red chili judging on Sunday.  A wee bit of rain fell, but everyone stayed in good spirits. Sundays winners were:

Best Booth

Duck Blind Chili Team

Peoples Choice

FreshMates Chili Team


3rd - George Lott - CO (Won 3 way tie)

2nd - Marcie Ligans - CO

1st - Sean Richardson - CO

Chili Verde

3rd - Dora Jepsom - CA

2nd - Lemonte Gregory - CO

1st - Sean Richardson - CO

Red Chili

5th - Mary Parker - CO

4th - Steve Tomasek III - CO

3rd - Mike Rook - CO

2nd - Dora Jepsom - CA

1st - Ed Huffman - CO (Very Happy)


To all you chili teams that thanked me profusely for coming up to Colorado to Chief Judge this event, let me tell you, it was greatly appreciated. WP is a special place for me and Sarah and I will continue to do whatever it takes to get this cookoff back to what it can and should be, the premier event in Colorado. Hope to see even more of you next year. And to Phuong and your people, great job, look forward to working with you again!

Paul Whitney



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