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Chili cook-off, outhouse race set for this weekend

South Miami-Dade residents can enjoy some chili — and one of the region’s strangest races — this Saturday.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to The Miami Herald

A chili cook for five years, Homestead resident Larry Roth has experimented with several recipes to find the perfect taste.

Hoping to create the most delicious chili by mixing ingredients, his Keyes Real Estate office will compete against other cooks at the 17th annual Chili Bowl Cook Off and Outhouse Race presented by the Greater Homestead/Florid City Chamber of Commerce on Saturday.

In the past, the former restaurant owner’s chili has won first place. He looks forward to tasting others’ creations.

“The professionals make it taste the same,” said Roth, who last year combined steak and ground beef for his chili. “But when you have others doing it, it has other different tastes that you wouldn’t even think about,” he said.

Local leaders will help judge the chili, but ultimately the public votes for the winner. Each cook is required to make 24 quarts of chili.

Winners will be awarded a trophy and bragging rights.

About 25 professional and amateur cooks will duke it out. Each entrant, who paid a $25 registration fee, will have a table, table cloth and 2 chairs. Theme and presentation will be judged. The public will have an opportunity to taste the chili. Entrants for the chili cook-off include a variety of competitors including participants from schools, businesses and military personnel.

The community is excited for the event said Rosa Brito, the chamber’s communications director.

“It blew the dial off of our exite-o-meter!” Brito wrote in an e-mail.

Brito expects over 1,500 people to attend.

Aside from the competition, there will be country soloist Matt Mansfield performing along with the band EXPELLED, a group made up of middle and high school students. The Coconut Palm K-8 Academy Drum Line will excite participants and Thunder Country FM 100.3 will also be on board. Beer also will be sold.

The event started almost two decades ago with an idea from a chamber member and was first held in a local restaurant, but the cook off eventually out grew the location.

But the cook-off is just part of the excitement. In the outhouse race, participants compete in teams of three. One sits in the outhouse and two push the wheeled outhouse. While the runners push the vehicle along, the sitter must place rolls of toilet paper on pipes sticking out of traffic cones along the 100-foot race course.

Toilet bowl seats are given to the winners as prizes.

Each outhouse must have four wheels of at least 3 inches in diameter. The minimum of the base structure must be of 2 feet by 3 feet and 60 inches tall from ground to rooftop with an opening and a roof. It can be painted, but must feature a crescent moon on at least one wall.

The affair is about feeling comfortable in the neighborhood, said Roth.

“It’s cool to be recognized at that moment,” referred Roth to winning the chili cook off. “But, its cooler to watch the rest of the participants and sharing their chili with the community.”

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