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Antigo Chili Cook-off spices up contest by also judging another skill set Submitted: 12/05/2018
Antigo - Competitors spent all day Wednesday perfecting their recipes at the 21st Annual Antigo Chili Cook-off.

"Normally it's just good old hamburger, beans, a little tomatoes, it's just the spices I keep secret," said Mike Boldig, who cooked with the Lucky Ash Farm team. 

"We do have a jalapeno and a sombrero," said Fantastic Sam's Alicia Holcomb. "Can you guess what kind of chili it is?" 
Though most of the cooks won't reveal the secrets of their recipes, there is one creation they want people to know the details of.

"We brought out our animated Snoopy and Tigger," said Gordon Neve. "We have our chili pepper guys." 

People can also compete for the best-decorated chili booth.

"It's fun, you've got to get out here, get in the Christmas spirit, and get everyone else in the Christmas spirit," said Neve, who owns the Neve's Floors-To-Go Furniture and Mattress store. 

"It makes it more of a party, more of a festive event," said Ashley Dieck, who's helped with the Fantastic Sams booth for at least six years. 

"Who doesn't like a little bit of light in their life," said Carl Goodrich, who is also on the Fantastic Sams team. 

Both Gordon Neve and the Fantastic Sams team have won or placed in the decoration contest before. For them it's all about the flair of lights or fun figurines. Other hand-painted shacks were made with a more practical purpose in mind.

"It gets a little cold, so we decided to circumvent that problem, and we came up with this," said Boldig, pointing to his team's shack with a cartoon Grinch painted across the bottom.

But whether people focus on the food, the decorations, or try to do it all, it's the fun of the day that keeps competitors coming back every year.

"If we don't win the chili contest, we're happy with everything else going on," said Neve. 

"It brings a lot joy to all of us," said Goodrich. 
 
Neve and the Fantastic Sams team placed second and third respectively in the decoration contest this year. 


Written By: Dakota Sherek

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