Chill out with chili

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
OATS is partnering with local veteran groups to host a chili cook-off.
“We’re a non-profit, and we have worked with veterans in the past and we are working once again to provide services to veterans,” said Fred Pellerito.
“American Sportsman for Veterans, they provide recreational outings for veterans, mostly hunting and fishing. and we finally got together and decided we wanted to put something together with them in March.”
On March 14, chefs will showcase their chili and a panel of judges will decide the top three winners. There will also be a fan favorite.
“All the money will be earmarked to provide scholarships for veterans at OATS, to come participate in equine activities,” said Pellerito. “The other part of this is we are going to use this to introduce veterans to our facility and get a feel for what OATS is about, sort of a welcoming day for veterans.”
OATS promotes health, well-being, and happiness of individuals with disabilities through horseback riding and equine therapy activities.
“There’s a lot of good research, we have seen the benefits for veterans,” he said. “Not only is there plenty of literature out there about therapeutic horse involvement, but we’ve seen it. We want to use our ability to help out those who have given so much for our country.”
There are two ways to participate in the chili cook-off. Those who want to enter can fill out the entry form, either at 4920 Groveland Road, Ortonville or by emailing and mailing in the entry form the above address. Chef set up is at 11 a.m., and service begins at 1 p.m. Chefs must provide their own table cloth, extension chord, serving utensils and 22-quart roaster. Chili must be kept at 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and will be served until 3 p.m. Prepare enough chili for up to 200 testers, tables, spoons, bowls and napkins will be provided. Registration is $25 and is non-refundable. Recipes must be printed and visible on the table.
Anyone looking to participate by tasting can purchase a $5 wristband, which is good for trying five samples. Additional wristbands means additional chili samples. One water will be provided to testers as well as a voting ticket to vote for your favorite.
Anyone with questions can call 248-245-1020 or email Trophies and prizes will be awarded.

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