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Cortez FFA to host first annual community chili cook-off on Jan. 11

Local FFA students will be hosting a chili cook-off on Jan. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Lewis-Arriola Community Center.
All who wish to participate or eat are welcome to attend

On Jan. 11, Cortez’s local FFA chapter will host its first annual chili cook-off at the Lewis-Arriola Community Center, 21203 Road S in Cortez, as a way of fundraising for upcoming events and become more connected with the community.

The cook-off will begin at 6:30 p.m., but those who have chili competing in the cook-off should arrive about 6:15 p.m.

First-year Montezuma-Cortez High School teacher Skyla Hamilton said the idea came about after the FFA students expressed their desire to “do something fun and with the community.”

“It’s a great way to have interactions with the community and also super-good for the kids to raise some money to go to some different events,” Hamilton said in an interview with The Journal.

Hamilton explained that many FFA events take place on the eastern plains and the Front Range, requiring students to raise money so travel expenses don’t come out of pocket. She also expressed her hopes of being more active in the community, which hasn’t been a consistent thing in the chapter.

“We haven’t been super-active in the past, so it is just one way for us to be more out there,” Hamilton said.

Those who wish to participate in the cook-off can contact Hamilton at (970) 739-3120 so she can collect entrance fees and get a head count of participants. The entry fee for the cook-off is $30, and those coming to eat and vote on the chili can pay $10 at the door.

All of the money goes directly to FFA students and the events they are fundraising for, including a Washington, D.C., leadership event in June in which four FFA students are attending.

The cook-off features three chili categories: red chili, green chili and people’s choice.

“The kids are mostly putting it on,” Hamilton said. “I am just kind of there to supervise and to make sure that things stay organized.”

Hamilton shared that she hopes the event is a fun one for all who participate, adding that she is hoping to get school board members and other community members to participate, rather than just students, their families and friends as a way to introduce FFA students and teachers to the community.

“It’s just kind of a, ‘Hey, come support us, we’ll feed you. Come hang out and get to know us,’” Hamilton said. “The biggest deal for me is that I wanted to get these kids more opportunities for them to go and experience stuff.”