Chili cookoff a winner


NORTH ZULCH — The weather was cool, the chili was warm, and the fundraising was hot at the third annual North Zulch Volunteer Fire Department Chili Cook-off on Saturday.

Fire Chief Tony Clay said the VFD Auxiliary did a masterful job of putting the even on this year, as sponsorships, contestants and donations all are up from last year.

“It was the best decision I ever made as chief, letting the auxiliary take over,” Clay said.

The department throws the shindig each year as a fundraiser; the proceeds go toward the purchase of new equipment and keeping the fleet running, as well as operational expenses.

“One bad call can cost us a lot of money,” he said.

In addition, the proceeds have allowed the department to begin construction on a new station.

“We’ve had land donated 20 years ago (across from the current building), but we’re just now able to do this,” he said. “We currently have $22,000 in the building fund.”

Organizer Wyona Ballard said the money raised from sponsorships was more than doubled from last year’s take — $13,775 in cash, and with in-kind donations, $18,200.

Additionally, there were 29 teams, up from the 21 that entered last year.

Altogether, the Fire Department raised $22,610.07 in cash; after expenses, the net was $18,395.97, Ballard said.