Smokin' Big Chili Challenge Headlines Huge January Weekend at the CasaBlanca in Mesquite, Nev.

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International Chili Society event boasts $5,000 purse.

A giant chili cookoff is scheduled for the CasaBlanca in Mesquite in January.

I have been involved in chili cookoffs for almost 20 years

The country’s top talents will gather at the CasaBlanca Resort Sunday, Jan. 16 for the Smokin’ Big Chili Cook Off.

Sanctioned by the International Chili Society, the $5,000 Smokin’ Big Chili Challenge will include competition in Red Chili, Chili Verde, Salsa and People’s Choice categories; while benefiting the Mesquite Cancer Help Society.

In addition, a peoples choice award of $1,000 is also slated for a Mesquite Peoples Choice cookoff for homemade and professionally-prepared chili. Tasting kits can be purchased from the MCHS for a $5 donation.

Brought to Mesquite by CasaBlanca General Sales Manager Michele Yegge Evans, the Smokin’ Big Chili Challenge is noted for its competition and fun. Much like the Smokin’ in Mesquite BBQ Championship presented each Labor Day Weekend; the chili challenge events draw the best in its field.

"I have been involved in chili cookoffs for almost 20 years,” said Evans, who has been with Black Gaming for four years. “This is a great family event that all can enjoy.”

Evans added that the chili cook off is part of a huge weekend that will also include the annual Mesquite Motor Mania Car Show; along with golf tournaments at the CasaBlanca and Palms courses all benefiting the MCHS.

“That’s awesome,” said Yoli Bell, founder/president of the MCHS. “I have a pretty extensive background with regards to chili cookoffs, so joining with the CasaBlanca makes this a win-win arrangement. The MCHS will be in charge of the Peoples Choice event which promises to be a lot of fun because contestants will be able to cook their favorite kind of chili whether it’s turkey, chicken, deer, beef, etc. The fact that the MCHS will receive all money undoubtedly helps our organization especially since we were not able to have our 'In The Pink' event this year due to the economy.”

The ICS was pioneered in 1967 with a long list of noted businessmen who attended the first World Championship including Carroll Shelby, Tom Tierney, H. Allen Smith, Wick Fowler, Dave Witts, Bill Neale, Frank X. Tolbert, Father Duffy, Ormly Gumfudgin and Bill Doner who gathered for the event in Terlingua, Texas.

Bob and Louise Denneweth will spearhead the ICS event at the CasaBlanca. Bob serves as chief judge while Louise is the chief scorekeeper.

“We have helped judging and setup for 15 years,” said Mr. Denneweth who lives in Kingman, Ariz. “For a first-time event, I am getting some very good response from the cooks who will participate. We’re going to other cook offs before the Mesquite event, and we’ll be encouraging others to come to the CasaBlanca. The room rates and the prize money are both fabulous in Mesquite.”

With thousands of members worldwide who cook, judge and have a good time raising funds for worthwhile charities or non-profit organizations, “Chiliheads” compete at events all over the country. The ICS is a non-profit organization that sanctions chili cookoffs with judging and cooking rules and regulations. These events are world wide and benefit charities or non-profit organizations. All winners of ICS sanctioned cookoffs qualify to compete for cash prizes and awards at the World's Championship Chili Cookoff held each year in October. The ICS is the largest food contest, festival organization in the world.

Further information can be found at, or by calling Michele Yegge Evans at 888-711-4653, ext. 14.

For information on the golf tournaments, contact CasaBlanca Pro Mary Ochs at 866-401-6022. Car show information can be found by calling Christian Adderson at 888-711-4653, ext. 15.

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Michelle Evans
Black Gaming
888-711-4653, x14
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Mike Henle
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