Huge Turnout at Mart Heinen Chili Cook-off
By Brayden Nuessen
Even though the 28th annual Mart Heinen Chili Cook-off had to be postponed due to last week’s ice storm, it was still a success.
The event, originally scheduled for Jan. 15, was held on Jan. 22, at Quincy University’s Health and Fitness Center. It drew in several hundred people, including QU faculty and students as well as people from the Quincy community.
At the Cook-off, all of these people were able to try many types of chili and could also participate in a raffle and silent auctions. The raffle was held at the end of the event; people had a chance to win a variety of prizes, such as a 39″ Vizio TV, Samsung Level Wireless Headphones and a Vizio Crave 360 Smartcast Speaker. There were also 21 chances to win cash that ranged from $100 to $5,000 as the top prize.
The event, hosted by the Mart Heinen Athletic Booster Club, benefitted the Athletic Department.
Mike O’Brien, owner of O’Brien Insurance Company and head of the Cook-off, thought there was a great turnout.
“It is great for our school, great for our athletic department, athletics in general, and (it is) a great fundraiser for all of us,” O’Brien said.
Adam Notteboom, the assistant men’s basketball coach, competed in the Cook-off for the fifth time this year.
“Every single year, there are so many people that come up, and they are really interested to try different flavors,” he said. “The hallway that we are in is always packed, and it is really fun to be a part of.”
Competitors were setup at nine tables with a variety of chilis and soups.
Diane Giesing won this year’s Cook-off with a tomato-based chili that comes from a family recipe she has had for years. Giesing has competed for 27 years and enjoys it each time.
“We are excited that we won, but it is just more fun to participate,” she said.
QU student Reed Bentzinger thinks the Cook-off is a good community event for the school.
“It is my third year coming. The chili is good, and the people are awesome to talk to,” he said.
Max Bennett, who is also a QU student, appreciates the event.
“I love it, and, as an athlete, it is great that the Mart Heinen Club really supports us,” Bennet said.