Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita title company wins big at downtown chili cookoff

The employees from Security 1st Title were the judges’ and the people’s favorite at last weekend’s Wangomasters Downtown Chili Cookoff.
The employees from Security 1st Title were the judges’ and the people’s favorite at last weekend’s Wangomasters Downtown Chili Cookoff. Brandon Knowles

They deal with titles, and now they’ve got one: grand champion of the Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff.

Last weekend, longtime cookoff participant Security 1st Title was named the big winner in the cookoff, and it took home several other trophies, including People’s Choice, Best Booth and Best Team Spirit. Brandon Knowles, himself a Wagonmaster, is a partner and senior vice president with the company, which has entered the cookoff every year since it first started 32 years ago. It has won trophies in the past, but this is its first time winning the top prize, he said.

The group of about 15 employees this year created a “Star Wars”-themed booth titled “Chili Strikes Back,” complete with employees dressed as Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper and Chewbacca. The cooking team, made up of Brad Williams, Tina Moiser and Amy Feather, tried out a new recipe. All Knowles will say about it is that it didn’t have beans but did have “different meats and spices and different things to make it interesting.”

“We started cooking early, and it turned out pretty well,” Knowles said. “The numbers don’t lie.”

Larry Bulla won the ICS red division, which earned him a trip to the world championships in Reno later this month. He promises to update me on how he does.

A few other results from the festival, all of which are listed on its website: Emerson Biggin’s repeated as the restaurant champion, and The Red Shoe Society/Ronald McDonald House won the charity category.

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