On March 8, the Middlebury Cross Country team was the first student group to win the Vermont Chili Festival. The team, led by Jake Fox ’15 went home with $100 in prize money from their first place award in the “Kitchen Sink” category and another $1000 for their overall win. Here’s a few words from Jake about the whole process:
We wanted to make a vibrant and warm chili: we had apples, multicolored bell, anaheim, jalapeno, and habanero peppers, three kinds of beans, and lots of tomatoes and onions. We were in the kitchen sink category due to our inclusion of beef and chicken sausage. I had about 35 people (Chem dept friends, a professor, and XC folk) show up on game day to help prepare, cook, and serve the 24ish gallons of chili we made.
WOW. Chili is great, but it’s important to keep in mind the inspiration for this whole endeavor, according to Jake:
Jake, the mastermind
Certainly, it was exciting to win an event so popular to the town and college, but a win was not really on our radar when we committed to participate in the Fest. Rather, our goal was to commemorate our teammate Donny Dickson ’11, and we accomplished this by promoting the Rumpus Run (a 5k fundraiser in his name the day after Chili Fest) and by sharing a fun-loving energy–one reflective of Donny’s spirit–with the town, with the college, and with each other. Those two accomplishments alone would have been enough, so the $1100 of prize money that we donated to his scholarship fund was icing on the cake (or an equivalent chili idiom).
It was a weekend full of accomplishments and memories for the XC team who went on the organize and compete in the Rumpus Run in Donny’s honor the following day, raising around $18,000 for his scholarship fund and bringing together hundreds of friends and family. Here’s Nighthawk’s recollection of gameday:
As sun crept over the luscious Green Mountains and into Gifford 411 on the morning of March 8th, the vibrations of a white iphone 5c rang through the once tranquil room. The clock said 5:30 AM, but to the weathered culinary crusader, it was time to cook some fucking chili. After spending years from his passion of creating oral pleasure, it was the one they called Foxxx that was able convinced Nighthawk to step out of retirement. And only after confronting the demons of his past, Nighthawk and the Spice Brothers began to prepare.