Farewell to February, Unofficial Chili Cook-Off Month

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The TropicThunder booth and a few members of the team.

After the lull in celebrations that follows the annual winter holiday season, it gets busy again around here with the billion-dollar Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo and its attendant chili and barbecue cook-offs.  Now’s the time to host any kind of cooking competition, especially one involving the creation of a beef stew with peppers in it.  Any later in the season and it would be way too hot to stand around outside eating a chili-laden concoction.

ImpactWeather’s parent company recently held its Ninth Annual “Go Texan” Chili Cook-Off and fundraiser and, as always, it was a hoot.  All the words you can think of to describe such an event certainly apply:  loud, crowded, fun, exciting.  There was a band, a DJ, a lot of chili eating and even more nervous anticipation before the awards were announced.  And even though it was sweatshirt weather – seasonably cool, thankfully dry – that margarita machine couldn’t keep up with the crowd.

ImpactWeather fielded our hearty Tropic Thunder cook-off team and went this year with the recipe that belongs to the inimitable Robert Russo, husband of our Sr. Business Administrator, Charlotte Russo.  Alas, we neither won, placed or showed in either the chili tasting or booth design categories.  We did, however, take first place in the best salsa contest courtesy of the salsa recipe of Trey Svrcek, fiancé of our Account Manager Alison Caine.  The salsa competition was an optional struggle but each of the 18 teams took up the additional challenge.

The cook-off is a fundraiser for the company’s WeCare division, a special group that manages donated funds for distribution in the event an employee suffers a calamity or major setback.  More than 200 items were donated for the silent auction.  More than just a supplement to regular insurance, WeCare provides personalized assistance to any individual in the company who runs into hard times.  And besides, it gives us a reason to have a cook-off!

What’s next?  The rodeo runs more than two weeks but it’s hard to believe that Mardi Gras is on March 8th, just a week from tomorrow.

Alison and Trey accepting the top salsa trophy from Universal Vice-Chairman Marjorie Evans.

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