March 10th marked the 7th Annual Chili Wars Championship for The 5th Corner. Each year, locals get together to sample and judge chili in order to raise money for the 5th Corner and other charities or non-profit groups.
The 5th corner is a teen center which creates an environment where middle school and high schoolers can unite through leadership, support, activities and interests.
“The Chili Wars have been a key piece for The 5th Corner to raise funds and raise awareness of the teen center,” said Peter Rufener, who serves on the board of directors for the teen center. “We are so thankful for people in our community that participate and promote this event to make The 5th corner a great place for students to connect, grow and lead.”
This year the first place “Taste Champion” award went to Chief Craig Hoeft and the Saline Fire Department. Hoeft’s local charity choice is Ally’s Pals. Ally is a local child who is fighting an inoperable brain tumor.
When asked what the two-time winning champions secret was, Chief Hoeft said, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it...it won once.”
“Good thing there are different judges,” Hoeft joked.
The award for first place “Peoples Champion” went to Paul Teboe of ATA Martial Arts and their charity of choice was for cystic fibrosis.
“The secret to my recipe is love and tenderness…No, it’s actually lots of vegetables and a lot of various beans.” said Teboe, a first-time winner of the chili competition.
Other contestant winners for “Taste Champion” were Saline Middle School Principal Brad Bezeau, taking second place, and Saline Mayor Brian Marl taking third place.
Second place for “People’s Choice” went to Brad Bezeau for Saline Middle School and Brewed Awakenings received third place for their recipe.
Other contestants this year were the Saline Youth Council, Salt Springs Brewery, Chief Hart for the Saline Police Department, Carrigan Cafe, Saline Leadership Institute, Hannah Wilson with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Saline Jazzercise, and Tess Carichner with Care Village Partnership.
80 percent of the proceeds will help support and maintain the Fifth Corner Teen Center. The remainder will go to the charities chosen by the Chili Wars winners.