CHILI COOKOFF RULES
ORIGINAL TERLINGUA INTERNATIONAL
FRANK X. TOLBERT - WICK FOWLER MEMORIAL
CHAMPIONSHIP CHILI COOKOFF, INC.
1400 Mockingbird Dr., GRAPEVINE, TX 76051
Tolbert Rules as of October 1, 2009
(The phrase "Terlingua
Championship" will mean the Original Terlingua Frank X. Tolbert _ Wick
Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cookoff when stated in these rules.)
I. RULES FOR CHILI COMPETITION
1. Head cook or designee must register (name and address) at Cookoff
Headquarters for chili and/or showmanship.
2. Head cook or designee will draw their judging cup and sign for
receipt at Registration, Head Cooks Meeting or as determined by Cookoff.
Remove the numbered ticket from the cup, write your name on the back and
put in a safe place. Winners will be announced by this number and it
must be presented to claim the award.
3. Cooks must not "mark" cup in any way. If cup is damaged, a
replacement can be obtained by turning in damaged cup and numbered
4. Cooks must be 18 years old or older to be eligible to earn points at
a cookoff or to qualify to cook at Terlingua.
B. PREPARING CHILI
1. Chili must be cooked on site the day of the cookoff from scratch.
"Scratch" means starting with raw meat and using regular spices.
"Scratch" means starting with raw meat and spices. Commercial chili
powder is permissible, but complete
commercial chili mixes are NOT permitted.
2. Chili must be prepared out in the open in as sanitary a manner as
3. No beans, pasta, rice or other similar items are allowed.
4. The head cook must prepare the chili to be judged.
C. TURNING IN CHILI
1. No more than one judging sample can be taken from any one pot.
2. Each cook may turn in only one cup of chili.
3. At turn-in time, fill your cup ¾ full (or leave at least 1 inch head
space) and take it to the Cookoff Headquarters. Do not be late.
4. Your chili will be judged on Appearance, Aroma and Taste.
II. FRANK X. TOLBERT SECRET JUDGING SYSTEM - CHILI
A. JUDGING CUPS
1. Use Identical Cups (16 to 24 oz. Styrofoam) with lids and numbered
tickets attached with tape to the outside of the cup, with a
correspondingly numbered ticket placed either inside the cup or if using
double tickets, tape down one ticket where the second one can be torn
off by the cook. (Be watchful that the side of the ticket with the
number is not the side applied to the tape.) Note: Judging cups FOR the
Terlingua Championship will be 32 ounces.
2. Cups should not be kept in any order (large trash bags work well).
Always make up extra cup.
3. Let Cooks draw their judging cup and sign for receipt.
B. TURN-IN AND JUDGING NUMBER PROCEDURE
1. As cups are turned in for judging, have workers collect the cups in
2. The containers are then taken to a different set of workers who will
randomly remove the cups, one at a time, and using a permanent marker
will mark the cup with a Table "Letter" and number. (Example: 45 Cooks;
3 Preliminary Judging Tables - "A", "B", and "C"; therefore cups are
marked A-1 thru A-15, B-1 thru B-15, and C-1 thru C-15) Continue this
process until all cups turned in are properly marked and taken to the
appropriate judging tables.
3. No chilis will be accepted after judging commences at the last
4. Outside judging number should be changed at each stage of judging --
using a different color marker is helpful.
C. JUDGING PROCEDURE
1. Judging Sheets should be numbered 1 to 25 or more, down the side with
space for the judges score. A sample judging sheet with general rules is
included with the cookoff packet.
2. Judging will be done using preliminary and final judges, and when
necessary, semi-final. When there are 20 or less chilies to be judged at
a cookoff, it is permissible to eliminate the preliminary judging stage
and proceed directly to final judging.
3. It is permissible to draw a portion of the Preliminary Judges from
head cooks or other cooking team members. This should be done by using a
random drawing rather than pre-selection or a "sign-up to judge" list.
Judges shall be at least 18 years old. Each table should have at least 5
4. Final and semi-final judges shall not have been judges in the
preliminaries. Final judges shall not be associated with any cook at
that given cookoff and shall abstain from tasting any chili prior to
judging. A suggested number of final judges is 9 or more, but no less
5. In judging, a minimum of four chilies must come off each preliminary
table (preferably one half of the chilies on the table) and go to final
judging. In large cookoffs, when this creates too many chilies on final
tables, semi-final tables should be used. Judging should be divided
among the tables so the final table will end up with preferably no more
than twenty chilies, but not less than fourteen.
6. Each table should have a table monitor to control movement of the
cups and answer questions. Refer to the Table Monitor Instructions in
the Cookoff Packet. Discussion of the chilies will not be permitted. Any
questions as to disqualification of a chili will be directed to the
referee by the table monitor for a final decision.
7. One score takes into consideration all criteria for scoring chili;
the criteria being aroma, appearance and taste. Each cup is scored on
its own merits from 1 to 10; 10 being the highest. Each judge must give
a score to each cup of chili.
8. Judges must use a new spoon for each taste.
9. The table monitor should collect judging sheets and make sure that
each judge at the table has judged and scored each chili. Judges may not
re-taste chili after it is passed. The total points from all judges will
determine the winner.
10. Judging sheets from each table should be tabulated in the judging
area to arrive at a total score for each chili. The chilies having the
highest scores, within the predetermined number of chilies, will advance
to the next judging stage. Do not break ties within the pre-determined
chilies that must come off the preliminarily or semi final judging
tables. They are to be passed on for further judging.
11. A tie-breaking panel of three judges can be used to break ties on
the final judging table, if necessary. If there are enough judges on the
final table (9 or more), then some judging sheets may be pulled at
random before tabulation, for breaking ties. It is recommended that the
completed judges tally sheets not be make available to cooks or others
to avoid unnecessary confrontations about the judges scoring.
12. Winning chili numbers will not be revealed until time to announce
winners. At that time the ticket from the outside of each cup will be
removed and passed to the referee for that cookoff and then to the
announcer. Upon announcement of the winning numbers, cooks must present
the signed matching number to claim awards and points. It is recommended
that the ticket number of all cooks reaching the finals be announced
after the completion of the announcement of all winners.
13. The top ten chili winners must be announced in reverse order of
their finish, names and addresses should be recorded as they are
III. FRANK X. TOLBERT SECRET JUDGING SYSTEM - SHOWMANSHIP COMPETITION
A. SHOW TEAM RULES
1. Show teams must have a cook entered in the cookoff in order to
qualify for showmanship points.
2. At the Terlingua Championship, a qualified Show Team does not need to
have a qualified cook in order to participate.
3. Showmanship Teams MUST enter all cookoffs under the same show name.
4. Show teams will be identified for judging by an assigned number. The
number is to be prominently displayed on the show booth or worn by the
participant if traveling away from booth.
5. Showmanship shall be judged on: THEME (Originality, etc.), COSTUME,
BOOTH SET-UP, ACTION, and AUDIENCE APPEAL
6. Judging shall be on a continuous basis for two hours during the
cookoff, ending at least thirty minutes prior to chili turn-in time or
beginning thirty minutes after chili turn-in time. Showmanship can be
shortened by cookoff promoter, with agreement of all competing show
teams, due to severe weather, etc.
7. Sound amplification may be used, with limited volume, so as not to
interfere with surrounding cooks or show teams.
8. Showmanship must be limited so as not to interfere with other show
teams, or to cause hazardous or unsafe conditions to exist.
9. Show teams must not offer or dispense any alcoholic beverages to
spectators during their show.
10. A team discharging firearms, or using any other explosives or
pyrotechnics will be disqualified. (No guns, capable of firing bullets
or blanks, will be allowed at the Terlingua Championship for show.)
11. Nudity and lewdness is banned from showmanship.
12. At the Terlingua Championship, Showmanship will be divided into Open
and Limited Show Teams with separate judging and trophies. Open teams
will consist of any number of members, and Limited teams will consist of
four or less members.
B. SHOW JUDGE RULES
1. Showmanship judging will be on a one to ten point system (10 is
high), using the five categories to determine a total. The judges tally
sheets will be tabulated together to determine the winners. If
necessary, ties can be broken by additional judges.
2. Showmanship judges must remain anonymous and conceal their judging
C. COOKOFF RULES FOR SHOWMANSHIP
1. There should be no entertainment or other activities planned by the
cookoff that would interfere with showmanship during
the hours of showmanship judging.
IV. QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS TO COOK OR SHOW AT TERLINGUA
A. GENERAL INFORMATION
1. The Terlingua Championship "Chili Year" starts on October 1st and
ends September 30 of the next year, for the following November's
Championship, which is held the first Saturday in November in Terlingua,
2. Cookoff sanctioned by the CASI/Great Peppers Organization will also
entitle the cooks and show teams to earn points or qualify for the
Terlingua Championship, unless the cookoff rules were not followed.
B. CHILI COOKS:
1. All Past Terlingua Chili Champions (Tolbert and CASI) and Past ICS
World Chili Champions are qualified.
2. The second thru tenth place winners at the Terlingua Championship
(Tolbert and CASI) are qualified for the next years championship.
3. Current Champion and two runners up (top 3 places), regardless of
place, who are residents of the state of the State Championship. Winners
residing outside that State will receive points and first place will be
qualified for Terlingua.
4.Current Champion and two runners up (top 3 places), regardless of
place, who are residents of the state of the Men's State and Women's
State Championship. Winners residing outside that State will receive
points and first place qualification toward Terlingua only. States must
have at least 12 cookoffs a year to be eligible for the automatic
(Exception: The Texas Women's State is held the first weekend in
October. The points and automatic qualification will be counted as if
the event had been held prior to October 1st.)
The top three winners (no
showmanship judging) at the Last Chance Cookoff held in Terlingua during
the week prior to the Championship.
5. The top three winners at Regional and International Championships.
6. First place chili winner at ANY sanctioned Cookoff (including ICS
Regional or ICS State Cookoffs).
7. The required number of points for each state is based on the number
of cookoffs held in the state the previous chili year. The
having 1 - 11
having 12 or more
8. Cook who have accumulated the required number of
points as determined by their State of residence. The scale being:
Points and / or Automatic Qualification
Thru Tenth Place
1. The first place winners of the Open and Limited Showmanship at the
Terlingua Championship are qualified for the next year's championship.
2. The highest placing team that is a resident of the state holding cookoff
in the State Championship and eligible Men's State and Women's State
3. It shall require the same number of points to qualify for Terlingua
Showmanship as it does for Chili.
4. At the Terlingua Championship, a qualified Show Team does not need to
have a qualified cook in order to participate.
V. CHILI COOKOFF SANCTIONING RULES
A. Cookoffs must be published in the Son of a Gap (an affiliate of the
Goat Gap Gazette) at least thirty days prior to cookoff date.The publication
deadline date is the 15th. (Example: May events must be in the April
edition, deadline for that is March 15th.) The Tolbert President may grant a
"one time" exemption for a cookoff that did not make the deadline for
publication and will advertise the event locally. Proof must be presented
before the event is sanctioned. The exception would not be allowed for
B. It is the responsibility of the Cookoff Chairman to obtain from the Goat
Gap Gazette, a packet, containing the "Tolbert" Rules and official forms.
There is no charge for this packet.
C. Cookoffs should be sponsored by a "not-for-profit" group, usually to
benefit a worthwhile public cause. Cookoffs should not give prizes of cash
or high monetary value. The State, Regional and International Cookoffs can
give expense money to teams who attend the Terlingua Championship.
D. Cookoffs should be open to at least fifty cooks. State, Regional and
International Championships should be unlimited as to the number of cook
entries. A minimum of fifteen (15) cooks are required to be present and
cooking. (An exception is the Armed Forces International Chili Cookoff at
the Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, TX. It is open to only active
duty and retired military and DOD civilians.)
E. Chili and Showmanship competition will be judged using the current
"Tolbert" Secret Judging System.
F. It is the responsibility of the cookoff promoter to have someone act as a
Referee at the Cookoff. This person should be knowledgeable concerning the
running of a cookoff and the judging process (and should have a copy of the
rules in their possession for review). This person is a consultant only and
not necessarily responsible for running the cookoff. The duty of the Referee
is to see that the rules are complied with, make decisions concerning rules,
offer advice and to acknowledge that the cookoff was properly run.
G. At the completion of the Cookoff, the Tally Sheets must be completed
showing the top ten Chili Winners and the top three Showmanship Winners (if
awarded), in the order of their finish, names and mailing addresses. (In
addition, State Open Championships should indicate the top three Chili
Winners, and first place Showmanship Winner, residing in that State,
regardless of their place.)
H. Cookoff Chairman is responsible for completing the Tally Sheets and
mailing or e-mailing them within thirty days after the cookoff. Copies must
be forwarded to the Goat Gap Gazette and the Tallymaster. There is no charge
to have your Cookoff Winners recorded.
VI. ADDRESSES FOR INFORMATION
Kathleen Tolbert Ryan
1400 Mockingbird Drive
B. Address for packet & registration:
Debbie Eiland Turner
Goat Gap Gazette
Waxahachie, TX 75168-0356
972-351-0022 (Work & Home)
4953 FM 744
Corsicana, TX 75110-1739
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