SPICY SHOWDOWN: Tryon Fire Department, TDDA to hold inaugural Guns-n-Hoses Chili Cook-Off

Published 11:59 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

First responders unite to build community, raise funds


TRYON—The Tryon Downtown Development Association and Tryon Fire Department will present its first Guns-n-Hoses Chili Cook-Off on Friday, February 23.

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Teams, consisting of firefighters, police, EMS and others, will prepare and present their best chili recipes at the event. Sample cups will be available for all of the chilis, and refreshments and beer will be available from Iron Key Brewing of Columbus. 

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third-place teams, with the winning team being awarded the “Copper Cauldron,” an antique cup that has been outfitted with a nameplate to serve as the victor’s trophy.

“It’s like the Stanley Cup in hockey, but ours is much more prestigious,” joked Steven Siler, Tryon Fire Department’s public information officer.

The top three placing teams will also receive prizes that will be provided by local businesses. 

Siler, the author of 26 cookbooks, including “Playing with Fires,” came up with the idea to encourage a strong relationship between first responders and the public.

“It humanizes us, it humanizes the police, and people can see us working together. And it’s fun,” Siler said. “We hope that we get folks decorating their booths and having fun team names. We want to engender a spirit of community and a spirit of working together.”

Voting will take place in the same manner as the Tryon Dog Mayor event, where the team that receives the most votes via monetary donations will be declared the winner. 

Siler hopes to make Guns-n-Hoses an annual event. “Every year we plan on holding this event,” he said. “It depends on the growth, and the turnout we get this year.”

Siler encourages the community to enter their chili recipes and says there is no deadline for entering the competition. 

“We will take people up until the day of the event,” said Siler. “If they have what they need, we will take them the day of.”

The Guns-n-Hoses Chili Cook-Off is scheduled to be held at the Tryon Depot, located at 22 Depot St., from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Tryon Fire Alliance, a nonprofit that provides equipment and support for emergency responders throughout Tryon and Polk County. More information and team sign-up will soon be available on the TDDA website, downtowntryon.org, or by emailing info@tryonfire.com.