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Relay for Life Chili Cook-off draws a crowd

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    More than 200 people came out to Radiant Life Church, 884 Hartman Road, Wadsworth, for the annual Relay for Life of Wadsworth Chili Cook-Off on Saturday evening. Event Organizer Terri Kreider said it was the best turnout for the event in recent years.

    NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE

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    Thirteen contestants compete for awards at the Relay for Life of Wadsworth Chili-Cook-Off on Saturday at Radiant Life Church, 884 Hartman Road, Wadsworth.

    NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE

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WADSWORTH — Competitors at the Wadsworth Relay for Life Chili Cook-Off did more than just bring the heat with their take on the spicy dish; they brought the crowds.

Event organizer Terri Kreider said about 200 people came through the doors of Radiant Life Church, 884 Hartman Road.

“It is our kickoff event for the Relay season,” Kreider said. “I will say that this is the biggest crowd we have had in a few years.”

Thirteen cooks competed for first-, second- and third-place awards in People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice categories.

Wadsworth City Councilman Tom Stugmyer served as one of the three chili judges.

“There were 13 chilis here, and every single one of them was different,” Stugmyer said.

The judges were looking for a chili that had a unique flavor and stood out among the competition, he said.

Stugmyer said each judge tasted each chili, and after comparing notes, realized they had each chosen some of the same entries.

“I think we matched on three or four right off the bat, and then we went back and tasted them again and narrowed it down,” Stugmyer said.

Several of the competitors had a personal reason for participating in the Relay for Life fundraiser that benefits the American Cancer Society. Troy Selzer of River Styx Market, 7958 Wadsworth Road, Guilford Township, said he competes in memory of a co-worker who lost her battle with cancer in 2010.

“We started a team that year before she passed, and we just kept going on and helping out the Relay for Life and doing things for the American Cancer Society,” Selzer said.

Matt Reed, owner of The Sub Station, 116 High St., said he donates his time and chili to help his wife’s employer, Wadsworth Pediatrics, raise money for the cause.

“I started making this chili when I was like 18. It’s been over 30 years,” Reed said. “When I make it, it is made with love; it is made from the heart.”

Jayne Tiffany, of Wadsworth, attended the cook-off with a group of friends.

“I am a cancer survivor myself, and these guys have supported me through my entire run,” she said. “They keep on coming with me.”

After a game of bingo, where participants could win prizes, Stugmyer announced the chili winners.

Peoples Choice:

  • 1st, Aaron Reed, with his team Crazy for a Cure;
  • 2nd, Matt Reed, with his team Wadsworth Peds Crawlers;
  • 3rd, Selzer, with his team LivingStrong in River Styx.

Judges Choice:

  • 1st, Matt Reed, with his team Wadsworth Peds Crawlers;
  • 2nd, Selzer, with his team LivingStrong in River Styx;
  • 3rd, Jason Kreider, with his team Notorious C.U.R.E.

Terry Kreider said that while Relay for Life of Wadsworth did not set a financial goal for the fundraiser, the evening exceeded her expectations.

“Whatever our goal would have been, I think we would have surpassed it,” she said.

The amount of money the cook-off raised for Relay for Life of Wadsworth was not immediately available.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.

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