Tailgate Society competes in contentious chili cookoff ahead of Cleveland Browns game

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 1:47 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A great football team and a winning chili may be more similar than you think.

Both include a roster of perfectly blended ingredients, a mix of spices with no shortage of personality and flavor, sometime hot, playing well in any weather, inside or out.

And in the end, winners earn the ultimate prize: The Ring!

19 News caught up with the contestants ahead of the 10th Annual Burke Airport Tailgate Society’s (B.A.T.S.) Chili Cookoff.

“Very nervous for the Chili Cook-Off,” said Larry Oliver. “The game? There’s nothing the Browns could do to me at this point to make me feel worse than I already have.”

“For me, it’s just knowing I’m putting everything into my chili,” said Melissa Hazek, whose secret ingredient this year was bacon.

“My chili’s sweet hot,” said multiple-time winner Chuck Wirtz. “And it’s pretty spicy. You don’t like spicy chili, you might not like my chili.”

The drama hit a crescendo as kickoff approached and the winners were announced.

The festive atmosphere masked the tension, not for the Browns game but for the cook off, the cold temperatures not cooling down enthusiasm.

“We have very special ingredients,” said Oliver. “We have onion, green pepper, ground beef, a whole heaping teaspoon of disappointment.”

“We’ve been doing chili cook-offs here for about ten years and it’s just a lot of fun,” said Wirtz.

Oliver’s Chili finished as the runner-up.

“I’m a Browns fan,” Oliver lamented. “I’m used to not winning.”

Wirtz, the Tom Brady of the Chili Cook-Off, won again, showing off a ring that rivals one for a Super Bowl champ, befitting the man who makes a super bowl of chili.