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story.lead_photo.caption Sally Carroll/McDonald County Press Scott House, "Lumpy," takes time away from stirring his chili at the chili cookoff on Saturday in Noel. House, of Garfield, Ark., has competed for at least three years in the annual chili cookoff hosted by the McDonald County Chamber of Commerce. This year's event was hosted by the Noel Betterment Association with a change of venue in Noel.

Lumpy House's wife doesn't even know what goes into his award-winning chili recipe.

Scott "Lumpy" House did disclose that he doesn't use hamburger, but his lips are pretty tight in letting anyone know more about his competitive, handcrafted mix.

House, whose CB handle is "Lumpy," got the name early in life. He's been called "Lumpy" since grade school and it seemed a catchy handle for his chili as well.

A short-haul trucker, House says his chili efforts are only sponsored by his paycheck. His recipe has been trial and error, but mostly award-winning.

His wife said he took the top prize at last year's McDonald County Chamber of Commerce's Chili Cookoff. House says his chili can stand up to almost any competition, but he still gets a little jittery before a cookoff.

"I'm always nervous," he said.

While trying out for the International Chili Society, he spent a sleepless night right before the competition.

But on Saturday, surrounded by his wife and supportive friends, House stirred the chili and excitedly thanked people as they placed People's Choice votes in his jar.

House has made chili for years, trying to perfect his recipe. He takes black angus meat, sausage, salsa and beans, and creates a dish that has people clamoring for more.

With some finesse and a little bit of cooking magic, he's served up chili for family, friends and church members at dinners, Christmas parties and get-togethers.

Encouraged by his friends through the years, he finally took his chili to the next level for the sake of a ribbon or trophy.

Why go to all that work?

"To see the people's faces when they taste my chili," he said. "I'm trying to cook the best chili I can."

The chili cookoff activities took place on the vacant lot beside Arvest on Main Street in Noel. The rain held off, though the weather was a little humid. Noel Betterment Association officials sold bowls so people could sample chili created by several competitors.

Officials also sold pumpkins, while providing some as a free service for children to decorate and take home.

Vendors were on hand to offer handcrafted wares and goods.

A bounce house also provided additional fun for the kids.

Betterment Association Treasurer Denae Murphy said competitors had set up at 8 that morning to start cooking their chili.

Weather permitting, live music was scheduled for later that afternoon, and a beer garden opened across the street in the evening.

"We're out here having a good time," Murphy said, in between selling bowls for chili sampling.

Employees with Mid-Tec brought their standard competition recipe and were pleased at the opportunity to bring their game.

"It's been a good competition," said Tom McDaniel, estimator, as accounting employee Sheri Crisler ladled chili into holding containers.

Tara Rubeck, in human resources, said the event provided a chance for Mid-Tec to support community involvement efforts.

"We pride ourselves on supporting the local economy and local organizations. It's something that's near and dear to us," she said.

Casey Poynor said she brought her two daughters out to the event to get involved in all the festivities.

"We want to get into the festive spirit (of fall)," she said.

Her daughter, Emma, watched her sister, Lillia, paint a pumpkin.

With the wind slightly blowing, Lillia concentrated, selected different colors and put her artistic skill into practice.

"I'm creating a happy pumpkin," she said.

General News on 10/11/2018

Print Headline: Noel Hosts Chili Cookoff Festivities

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