2nd Annual Firefighter Chili Cook-Off for Wildfire Prevention

Chiefs Eric Moller and Darren Rosario soak in the barn atmosphere before judging chilis.

Chiefs Eric Moller and Darren Rosario soak in the barn atmosphere before judging chilis.

Wildfires have serious impacts on communities and natural resources from summit to sea. HWMO is filling an important niche in Hawaii by bringing together a wide variety of communities and collaborators to reduce wildfire impacts across the State of Hawaii and in the Western Pacific. In order to keep our flame alive, we rely on donations like any other 501(c)3 non-profit organization. That's why on November 3, we held our second annual fundraiser: Firefighter Chili Cook-Off for Wildfire Prevention.

The event attracted people from all over the islands (and some from the mainland, as well) to taste chili and have boatloads of fun. Parker Ranch was gracious enough to provide a beautiful venue for the 2nd straight year: the historic red barn behind the Rodeo Arena. They also were an immense help in lending equipment and volunteers.

Four firefighter teams competed for several coveted chili cooking awards: Best team spirit, best chili (popular vote), and Chef’s Choice.

The teams were as follows:

1) Team PFX (Pacific Fire Exchange): J.B. Friday, Melissa Kunz, Willie Rice, Clay Trauernicht
2) Team DOFAW Hawaii (DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife): Don Yokoyama, Clement Chang, Bob Covington, Edgar Niro, Mike Yamachika, Blaine Nagata, Curtis Tampos, Reyn Gibson
3) Team Makalei (Hawaii Fire Department): Kuʻulei Alfiche, Rob Wall, Captain Kaipo Parish
4) Team Freedom Chili (US Army-Garrison, Fire and Emergency Services- PTA): Kimo Yamanoha, Dathan Lloyd, Chief Karl Hopkins, CJ Prough, Chief Eric “The Unbiased” Moller

DOFAW won Chef’s Choice AND Best Team Spirit in one night!

DOFAW won Chef’s Choice AND Best Team Spirit in one night!

Each team cooked their own favorite chili recipes using as many local ingredients as possible. Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council supplied the meat for the chili as a very generous donation.

Team reps competed for coveted chili awards.

Team reps competed for coveted chili awards.

With wide grins and elaborately decorated service stations, the firefighters served the chili to attendees, hoping to win their votes later in the evening. The Chef’s Choice award was decided by the following judges: HFD Chief Darren Rosario and US Army-Garrison Chief Eric Moller.

And the winners were….(drum roll)…

Chef’s Choice: Team DOFAW Hawaii
Best Chili (Popular Vote): Team Makalei (HFD)
Best Chili (Popular Vote Runner-Up): PFX
Best Team Spirit: Team DOFAW Hawaii (wow, two wins, a big night for them!)

All of the chili was amazingly delicious and we are so grateful for everything our firefighter teams did to support our efforts (and especially the work they do everyday to risk their lives for others.

The event was a smashing success and we raised over $13,000 to help continue our work to protect communities, lands, and waters from wildfire in Hawaii.

Of course, it couldnʻt have happened without everyone who joined us and all who put in so much time and effort into organizing and volunteering. And a big mahalo goes out to all of the sponsors involved. These are all the people, businesses, and organizations that made it happen - mahalo nui loa!:

Chili CookOff Mahalos.jpg