The Strathmore Stampede featured a hot-ticket event this year, a chili cook off organized by the Strathmore Overnight Shelter to celebrate and raise awareness for the facilities debut in the fall.

Chili Extravaganza

Allan Auger (left) has a chili battle with Phil and Gabriela from Pizza 249 during the Strathmore Overnight Shelter’s Chili Extravaganza on Aug. 5. Pictured from the left are Allan Auger, Overnight Shelter director of Outreach Richard Rodgers, Phil holding three-year-old Ivana, five-year-old Javier and Gabriela from Pizza 249.

“The chili cook off is a small fundraiser, more of an awareness campaign, just to get the word out that there is going to be an overnight shelter in town,” said Richard Rodgers, director of outreach for the Strathmore Overnight Shelter.

The chili cook off took place at the Strathmore Stampede grounds on Saturday, Aug. 4.

The facility will open its doors in the fall starting with a soft opening for all non-profits and referrals that the Overnight Shelter will be working with.

An opening for the public will take place after, letting anyone interested tour the facility.

“The public knows exactly [what the shelter does], we’re not hiding anything and what to expect and some of the procedures. We just want it transparent,” said Rodgers, explaining the purpose behind the public tours.

The shelter is focussed on maintaining transparency to put the community at ease and dispel common stereotypes about its clientele and community impact.

“[The chili cook off] is for the awareness that we are going to be opening soon, and that if they want to give us a call or know more or volunteer,” said Rodgers.

The Overnight Shelter will open in the fall of 2017 and will be located at the Harvest Healing Centre Church.

The emergency shelter is designed to offer vulnerable men and women in the community a safe haven for up to five days.

The temporary refuge provides ten beds and includes showers, a commercial kitchen and laundry facilities.

“We want to show that we are opening are doors to any of the public, it’s more like an emergency shelter in that aspect,” said Rodgers.

The facility is designed to get people up and on their feet through connections with community resources.

The Strathmore Stampede chili cook off served as another avenue for the Overnight Shelter to raise awareness before its official opening.

The competition featured two competitors offering delicious chili’s battling it out in a flavour cook off.

“We had a lot of cancellations and it was a little bit of short notice,” said Rodgers.

The winner of the competition was decided based on audience taste testers who voted on their favourite recipe.

“I’m not big on spicy, I don’t make a hot chili I make it so that everybody can eat it,” said Allan Auger, the winner of the chili cook off.

Auger became involved with the chili cook off through the Legion, and saw the opportunity to give back to the community.

“I’ve never done it [a chili cook off] before but I have had a few people say my chili’s not bad,” said Auger.

Auger had a traditional take on chili offering a recipe that was flavourful, not spicy that tastes like a home cooked meal.

“I really just wanted to introduce flavours to people,” said Phil Proverbs, second place winner of the chili cook off.

Proverbs, and his wife Gabriella, entered a unique chili that infused mole (a subtly sweet Mexican spice) for a world infused taste experience.

“You get a little bit of sour a little bit of salt, I just wanted to make something a little different today with the mole,” said Proverbs.

Proverbs is a business owner in town and has partnered as sponsor with the Overnight Shelter to help raise awareness for it’s impending opening.

“Anytime we get an opportunity to help out the community in one way or another we do,” said Proverbs.

By Chelsea Kemp, Airdrie Echo/Hanna Herald/Strathmore Standard

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