First Time to the Chili Cook Off?
Etiquette and Things to Know
- 1. Most importantly be safe and take care of yourself and your fellow travelers. If somebody in your group overindulges, get them safely to your camp and keep them there. If somebody has a medical issue, the nearest medical facility is 80 miles away, Alpine.
- 2. At the cookoff, be a good neighbor-keep your music volume down, clean up trash, keep generator use to a minimum, no bright lights, dogs on a leash, drive 5 mph to keep dust down,
- 3. Be nice to the gate people. At the gate, when you first arrive, buy your wristband with cash only, or show your prepaid receipt from buying online, and wear it the entire time. Always be ready to show it when you return from going places.
- 4. If you go off premise for anything, do not drink and drive, and obey all traffic laws to a T. Make sure all your vehicle lights are working, including your license plate light. Do not drive 1 mph over the limit. There will be a lot of law enforcement. Especially Friday and Saturday. If you get caught, they will take you to Alpine, 80 miles away.
- 5. When leaving, as you head north, you will come to a Border Patrol check point. Everybody has to stop. The agents are looking for illegal immigration, and drugs. Drug dogs inspecting your vehicle, are common.
- 6. Be self sufficient. There is no water or electricity at the cookoff. Bring water for washing up and drinking and cooking. Bring firewood. There is a well stocked store, Cottonwood, about 5 miles away. Usually they will have most of what you need.
- 7. Bring your own shade, be ready to take it down or the top off quickly, if a high wind comes through. It will destroy your canopy in seconds.
- 8. Bring flashlights and lighting for your camp as needed. It will be dark, there will be ways to get hurt. Sharp cactus, snakes, scorpions, hillsides to fall down.
- 9. There are restaurants in the area, expect service to be slow, be patient, tip well, be nice.
What to do for Fun and Recreation
The best part of the experience is the setting. Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park are right there. Hike, sight see, explore. Do it carefully. Always have a lot of water, there are many ways to die in the desert. Large areas of no cell coverage. What happens if your car breaks down in a deserted area? Nobody is coming and your phone will not work. Make sure others know where you are going. Check in with the Ranger station and see where to go or not go. If you leave your vehicle, put a note on it saying where you went and when you will be back.
There are several rafting, hiking, touring companies in the area. Call them up, make a reservation!
Golf course at Lajitas. Call the Lajitas Resort for rules and availability.
The cookoff site is like being at the ocean, with mountains instead of water. It feels really good just sitting at your camp and staring off into the distance. Bring a guitar, bring something to read. Bring horseshoes, corn hole, a deck of cards. At night, the bands start about 7:00 all 4 nights. There are 2 bands every night. They will finish about midnight.
Competition & Participation
Compete - Everybody can compete in almost everything. Margaritas, Brisket, Ribs, Black Eyed Peas, Chicken, Salsa, Pinto Beans, Verde Chili, Friday last chance chili. Bring everything you need, sign up and get the rules from our website or under the pavilion. You cannot compete in the Saturday Chili Championship unless you are qualified. You can get qualified to compete in the Saturday Chili Championship if you compete in the Friday Last Chance, and finish in the top 10. Otherwise, you have to have qualified by cooking throughout the year and earning points. Check the schedule! There are fees to compete!
Judging - Judging spots are limited, check under the pavilion on Thursday and Friday to see if there are any available spots!
Pro Tip #512:
"Star gaze, Incredible Views, & Water - Stay hydrated!"