Hundreds of community members filled the garage at the New Richmond Fire & Rescue station Saturday afternoon eager to feast on a variety of award-winning chilis and grateful to have missed all the winter madness that swept through the city only 48 hours earlier. Last year's event was not as lucky suffering the full force of a winter blizzard the day of the cook-off.

This year's winners were: Kevin Welch, medium category; Monte Week, hot category; Paul Montgomery, mild category; and Sweet Beet Bakery Chefs John and Ashley combined, Judge's Choice award with their "5 meat 5 alarm" recipe.

Welch was a first time entrant and in a tribute to his wife, used her recipe. It proved to be a winner.

"My wife passed away and I used her recipe to enter," said Welch.

He said there was a secret ingredient but would not reveal it, noting only that love made the difference.

This year's winners divvied up a prize monty collected in fees from all the entrants. Money raised through Saturday's donations, silent auction and raffle will go toward purchasing a new gear dryer for the department. The dryer will enable firefighters to dry their gear more quickly after it's been washed.

Besides chili, residents could opt for hot dogs with plenty of fixings and a wide selection of desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Once again, the fire department would like to thank all of the sponsors for their contributions, the judges for their expertise and community members for their generous support.