Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Medina 71°

Local Medina County News

Medina mayor crowned king of chili cook-off

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    Brunswick Councilman Brian Ousley and Seville Mayor Carol Carter applaud after it was announced that Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell won the chili cook-off on Sunday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5137 in Medina.


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    New Medina third ward Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez, right, and her husband Ernesto sample chili and support the cause at Medina VFW Post 5137 on Sunday.



MEDINA –– The Medina chapter of Rolling Thunder Inc., a national organization that helps veterans, held its annual chili cook-off Sunday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5137 in Medina.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell of Medina, Brunswick Councilman Brian Ousley and Seville Mayor Carol Carter competed for first place among city officials in the cook-off. Mayor Hanwell was crowned as the first-place winner as he received the most votes from guests.

“It’s very exciting,” Hanwell said after winning. “I’d like to thank Kristie and my son John for helping me put it together.”

Hanwell’s son and his girlfriend, Kristie Sawastuk, helped the mayor make his chili for the competition.

“Well, let’s just say everything is better with bacon and roasted vegetables,” said Sawastuk. “Roasted vegetables make it.”

Everyone seemed to have fun competing and making their chili; however, Ousley said his favorite part of the competition is the competing.

“Competing. It’s all about competing,” Ousley said. “It’s all in fun.”

Ousley has competed in and won chili competitions in the past. He was not willing to share his chili-making processes.

“Nothing,” said Ousley about what he could reveal about his chili. “Only that I cook it for a lot of days.”

Carter said that she made a large batch of chili that included a lot of meat and led to a messy kitchen.

“Well, 15 pounds of meat,” Carter said. “It was turkey, sausage, ground beef and just a variety of tomatoes, tomato puree and a messy kitchen.”

Ray Hewitt, of Medina, won first place out of all the entries brought in by local residents.

He competed last year and said that the reason he didn’t win then was because he didn’t make enough. This year, he made a double batch.

“Actually, I make my chili in layers,” Hewitt said. “I’ll put something in, put spices in, put something in, put spices in. It’s kind of like a process that way.”

He said that the camaraderie and the people are his favorite part of the competition.

The chili cook-off is one of the ways Rolling Thunder Inc. raises money throughout the year to help out veterans.

They have donated to organizations such as Wags for Warriors. They also donate to veterans who may struggle with finances.

For more information, visit

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at
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