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Chili cook-off benefits Jemison FFA

The Third Annual Jemison FFA Alumni Chili Dinner and Cook-off was held at Jemison City Hall on Feb. 4.

Attendees had the opportunity of sampling eight chili dishes, as the contest was divided into an adult and a junior division, with four participants taking part in each.

The event was all-you-can-eat, which allowed the opportunity for people to enjoy multiple bowls of their favorite chili recipes.

Cindy Hewett’s chili won the adult division, while Tucker Hilyer took home the top prize in the junior division.

Judges for the cook-off included Jemison football head coach Van Clements, retired educator Betty Giles and Elizabeth Epperson with Chilton County Cattle Women.

Trophies were awarded to the top three finishers in both divisions.

Over the years, the event has become an important fundraiser and continues to find new ways to help out the FFA program at Jemison High School.

“We’ve been able to give more scholarship money every year, based on what we make from the chili cook-off,” said Bridgett Smith, secretary of the Jemison FFA Alumni Association.

A pair of scholarships has been awarded each of the first two years with the same number or even more expected this year.

Smith has been involved all three years and has seen it grow in both popularity and participation.

“This is the largest group of FFA students that we have had participate, and more and more parents are taking part” Smith said.

Other than scholarships, the event also served as a fundraiser to help pay the way for Jemison’s FFA to participate in competitions.

According to Smith, though the chili is the focus, a lot of people also come to take part in the auction.

This was the first year that a live auction was held, as well as certain prizes that were handed out through bingo.

“We usually do silent auction, but we’re getting bigger, so we figured the next step was to go live,” Smith said.

Local businesses in Chilton County donated the items used in the auction.

“Without the support of everyone involved, this all wouldn’t be possible,” Smith. “We’re just trying to help the Jemison FFA any way we can.”