Dining With Denise Neil

Big winners from Wichita’s Downtown Chili Cookoff included restaurants, a repeat champion

If you’re someone who values chili and people who can make it well, you might want to get your title insurance with this group.

The Security 1st Title team in Wichita pretty much swept the annual Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff on Saturday, taking the trophies for Best Booth, Best Team Spirit and People’s Choice.

To finish it off, Security 1st also won the Grand Champion title, which is the biggie. The group, which as won many awards in the past including the Grand Champion title in 2015, had an Elvis-themed booth — complete with a hip-shaking Elvis — and served their “Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Chili,” a no-bean chili devised by employee and head cook Ethan Pounds.

You can see a full list of winners below, but it also included a few restaurants. Emerson Biggin’s owner Luis Lopez and his crew got two mentions, winning Fourth Place in the salsa category and Fourth in the People’s Choice category.

Walnut River Brewing also showed up on the People’s Choice list, winning fifth place.

Dining with Denise did not win the Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff, but the team had a good time passing out aprons and serving some smoked chicken chili. Shawn Rhodes

The Dining with Denise booth didn’t win any awards, but we had a good time meeting people, passing out Dining with Denise aprons and occasionally hiding from downpours. And our next-booth neighbors, Big Mama’s Ghost Chili Town, won second place in the salsa contest, so we kind of feel like some of that glory rubbed off on us. You become pretty good friends with your next-booth neighbors at events like these.

Check out the list below and see if your favorite took home an award:

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Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.