Bull Shoals State Park, Arkansas
Bull Shoals lake was created to tame the White River. The lake is even bigger than Lake Norfork. We drive up on 9/11 to sample the chili in the annual Arkansas Chili Cook-Off.
The admission is $3 a head. You get a ticket for the admission price that you can use to vote for the "peoples choice" best chili. We also buy 20 tickets for 50 cents each that can be used for chili samples, funnel cakes. water, hot dogs or whatever.
The band playing is a lot better than I expected. They play some things that sound a lot like Mississippi Delta blues, some Eric Clapton and other things that are not very hillbilly..
One ticket gets you a tasting cup of the competitors chili...six tickets buy a big bowl of standard chili...four for a hot dog. There is no entry fee to compete in the cook-off, but you have to agree to produce at least four gallons of chili for the little tasting cups...
Someone mistakes me for a local celebrity named Gaston who is a big sponsor for the event. Eventually I straighten this out and promise to look for someone who looks like me and convey regards.
Bull Shoals is really small town in Arkansas, maybe 2,000 on the lake. The Bull Shoals police have also sponsored a 5K race today to honor all the New York firefighters and New York police killed nine years ago...It's a small town in mid-America...They're not burning Korans here...
First prize for the best chili is $500. You also get bragging rights for a year until the next contest. The People also pick a winner and that prize is $100.