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November 1, 2011, (Lemon Grove ) -- The seventh annual Western Round Up and Chili Cook-off, sponsored by Lemon Grove Soroptimists, sends up a flare on Nov. 5. 

Such cayenne masters as Willie Tellez of Pro Drain Plumbing, lawyers Helen Zeldes, Airene Haeggquist and Amber Eck (sans suits and briefcases), and, of course, those heat-seeking champs from the Lemon Grove Fire Department will braise entire cows laced with habañera and cabanelle chilis--the kind that stopped scurvy in its tracks on Columbus's first voyage to the new world.


Organizers boast that when the Great Navigator first chowed down on chilis, he sang out, "Niña, Pinta, Santa Maria!  Forget the gold bars!  Fill the hold with these little babies and world cuisine will never be the same!  Our fortune is made!"   Poor Chris--he arrived back in Madrid with his magnum opus, "Brave New World:  The Joy of Cooking with the Aztecs," only to net a chilly reaction from Ferdinand and Isabella, who were still hung up on finding the Indies, crushing dissent and eating three-day-old, unrefrigerated state dinners.


"We learned this startling, revisionist history from Chris's namesakes, the Knights of Columbus at St. John of the Cross, who will be competing for the top prize on Nov. 5," organizers claim. "But we digress."
 This "hot" event will be held at 6 p.m. in St. John of the Cross Social Hall, 8086 Broadway, Lemon Grove, when a brace of chefs will demonstrate their peppery prowess over steaming cauldrons of beef, beans and secret sauce.
The wildly popular Chili Cookoff draws a packed house of Western-garbed guests, who vote for first, second and third prize winners.  Who will take home the coveted Iron Pyromaniac trophy, the Heart of Fire plaque and the also-ran, ceramic Mild Seasoning Pot for Pikers?  With every chef a winner, 20 of them will be in and none of them will be out!

Soroptimist president Helen Halmay vowed to have fire extinguishers and pitchers of ice water "conveniently placed throughout the hall" while event chair Jenny Mendoza asserted, "This is the moment to scorch your innards in a good cause.  Our Wild 'n Woolly Raffles and Simmering Silent Auction will please the eye and fill your Christmas shopping list.  All proceeds stay in town and benefit the Lemon Grove Food Bank, Toy Drive and scholarships for girls and women." 

Dancing while inflamed is heartily encouraged.  The event's trademark boot-stompin', old fashioned, pioneer, down home rompin' by the cauldron is sure to the bring the crowd to its feet.  Cooling things down will be no-host libations from the Tall Tales Saloon (open 24/7) and the dulcet tones of the singing duo, Heart of Gold, backed by the majorly cool saxophone and guitar that beguiled the crowd last year.
Major event sponsors DCH Honda, Hitzke Development and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd encourage all to get down with Lemon Grove Soroptimists.
Tickets are $15 per person at the door.  For more information, call 619-231-1058 or 619-888-0346.


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