February 15, 2019  

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Chili Cook-Off Brings the Heat to the ‘Pete’ on Nov. 11

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Put out a call for groups of meat-and-bean-and-pepper culinary experts. Add a dash of tradition and a heaping helping of community service. Mix it all together at The University of Southern Mississippi's Pete Taylor Park.

You’ve just cooked up the perfect recipe for the 12th annual Sigma Phi Epsilon Chili Cook-Off, Saturday, Nov. 11, from 12:30-4:30 p.m. A $5 fee entitles attendees to a hot dog, samples of the chili, soft drinks and a souvenir cup. The event is open to the community.

Proceeds benefit the Extra Table, a Hattiesburg nonprofit that supplies food pantries and kitchens to combat hunger and food insecurity. One of the Extra Table’s beneficiaries is the Eagle’s Nest Food Pantry, located in the basement of The Hub building of USM's Hattiesburg campus.

Established in 2016, the Eagle’s Nest is a project of the USM School of Social Work and serves campus clients on Mondays (1-3 p.m.), Wednesdays (1-5:30 p.m.) and Fridays (1-3).

“The main reason this is important is the Extra Table is a part of our community,” says John Leggett, a junior business major from Laurel, Mississippi, who is coordinating the event for the Sig Ep fraternity. “It’s a great way to give back.

“I’ve spent some time at the Eagle’s Nest. It also benefits our own students. You may be sitting next to a student in class and not know if they’re hungry or not. You may be helping that person who is sitting right beside you and not even know it.”

The event will also include music and a raffle to win a Brett Favre-signed football, a gift card to a local boutique and a HoneyBaked Ham.

Teams may register for the cookoff through Nov. 10, with a $50 entry fee. Sponsorship opportunities are available at $100 (Spicy), $250 (Hot), $500 (Blazing) and $1,000 or above (5-Alarm).

Leggett is hoping for between 10-20 teams competing. His advice: “Taste is the big thing, and consistency. The way it looks will decide if you want to eat it or not. Spice is another thing. I like it spicy.”

Entry Requirements and sponsorship details are available online.

Contact Leggett for more information: 601.580.5438 or john.leggett@usm.edu.