WHEREAS, true chili simmered to
its tender, fragrant maturity is the ambrosia that finally conquered the
American Southwest and a growing multitude of ardent appetites in many lands
and climates; and
chili achieves a nobility of flavor only from ingredients merged to perfection
under the watchful care of a dedicated craftsman in the cooking arts; and
chili attains the diversified but simple Epicurean qualities that give it a
hallmark of hospitality on the banquet board, on the kitchen table or from a
hot pot in the desert by twilight; and
numerous believers in the virtues on true chili wish to establish camaraderie
to preserve and enhance the traditions of this unique product of culinary
science and creativity.
it resolved, that effective in November of 1970, the International Chili
Society, which will supercede all other associations previously established in
this field, be organized for the purpose of improving
the breed of
true chili. Determining, each year the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff
through officially sanctioned and regulated competitive cookoffs that benefit
charities or non-profit organizations.
Chili Society, as incorporated in California, shall be the official sponsor of
the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff, World’s Championship Salsa Contest,
Americana Food Festival, FIREFEST and World’s Championship Chili Verde Contest
and shall be charged with carrying out the purpose of these by-laws.
INTERNATIONAL CHILI SOCIETY and WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP CHILI COOKOFF shall be
protected from infringement to maintain the purity of chili. WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP CHILI COOKOFF is a
registered service mark of the International Chili Society, in addition;
WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP SALSA CONTEST, WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP CHILI VERDE CONTEST,
and FIREFEST are also registered service marks of the International Chili
SECTION 1. PURPOSE: The Principal purpose of the organization is
to develop and improve the preparation and appreciation of true chili and to
determine each year the World’s Champion Chili Cook through officially sanctioned
and regulated competitive cookoffs.
SECTION 2. SELECTION OF WORLD’S CHILI
CHAMPION: Annually, the World’s Champion Cook will be designated as a result of
winning the cooking competition at The World’s Championship Chili Cookoff. The World’s Championship Chili Cookoff shall
be held the last weekend of September or the first weekend of October unless otherwise announced by The
International Chili Society.
SECTION 1. Board of Governors, Advisory Boards, and Committees are honorary
designations and may be established and appointed by the Executive Director to
help carry out the purposes of the Society. Such honorary appointments shall be for a term designated normally for
one year. Members of the Board of Governors shall serve ex-officio on all appointed
committees and advisory groups. Advisory
groups and committee members are ineligible to compete at any sanctioned
SECTION 2. ADVISORY BOARD: ICS Advisory
Board. The number of the ICS Advisory
Board shall be determined from time to time by the Board of Governors, and/or
the Executive Director, but shall not be less than five or more than
SECTION 3. HISTORIAN: An historian shall be
appointed as official keeper of the archives
JUDGING COMMITTEE: The judges committee shall be responsible for judging the
World’s Championship Chili Cookoff and for the general supervision of the
judging committees appointed for state, regional and district cookoffs. The Executive Director shall appoint a Chief
Judge for the general supervision of the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff
judging and scorekeeping.
SECTION 5. ARRANGEMENTS COMMITTEE: The
arrangements committee assists with general set-up and activities of the
World’s Championship Chili Cookoff.
Membership is open to all persons,
however, contestants must be 18 years of age or older to compete.
1.2 A membership includes only the
applicant. It does not extend any
membership privileges to other
Membership shall become effective upon the
date of acceptance by the International Chili Society of a
membership application accompanied by payment of membership fees.
RIGHTS OF MEMBERSHIP:
2.1 All members shall have the right to
subscribe to all publications and the right to apply as a contestant to
compete in any International Chili Society sanctioned cookoff.
Membership does not carry
any proprietary right nor does it insure right of admission to any event.
Members of the International Chili Society are not agents of, and do not have
the right as spokesman for or contract on behalf of, the Society. Membership does not insure approval to
compete at any such event, but is required as a condition of application.
TYPES OF MEMBERSHIP:
3.1 CHARTER - Charter memberships are available
for a period of one year, renewable every year.
3.2 LIFE MEMBERSHIPS, formerly available shall
remain in effect.
3.3 HOMESTYLE MEMBERSHIPS, Homestyle memberships are available for a period of one year, renewable every year.
4.1 Membership fees and charges are subject to
4.2 Each year the amount of dues payable shall
CANCELLATION OF MEMBERSHIP:
5.1 The Board of Governors, and/or the
Executive Director reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to cancel
any membership at any time.
5.2 The Executive Director,
at their discretion, may require members to receive approval to compete or
participate in a chili cookoff that has not been sanctioned by the ICS. Failure of members to comply could result in
membership suspension for one year.
V. SANCTIONED COOKOFFS:
Any person may apply to the
International Chili Society to sponsor a sanctioned cookoff. Such application will include an agreement to
comply with the rules, regulations and by-laws of the Society. Approved applicants shall be designated as a
sanctioned ICS cookoff.
TYPES OF COOKOFFS:
2.1 Three types of cookoffs are recognized by
the International Chili Society.
2.2 WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP:
Sponsored by the International Chili Society and held annually. Contestants must qualify to compete by
winning 2 sanctioned ICS Districts or a State/Regional cookoff.
CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Championship of a given state in the
United States of America
foreign country or designated geographical area. Winners qualify for finals of
World’s Championship. State Championships must designate that entries will be
“open” to all members or “residents only” of said State. Regional Championships
are open to all ICS members.
2.4 DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS: Open to all ICS
members. Winner in the Red Chili category (if less than 20 cooks) advances
to Last Chance - 2 District wins qualifies for the World's Championship
Chili Cookoff. If a District cookoff has 20 or more cooks, the winner will
advance to the World's Championship Chili Cookoff.
2.5 HOMESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Open to all ICS Homestyle
members. Winners qualify for the ICS World's Championship Chili Cookoff.
CONDITIONS OF SANCTIONING: As a condition of obtaining approval for an
cookoff, all applicants must agree to the following:
3.1 Completion of State-Regional-District
Cookoff Application in detail including signature of an officer or
of the sponsoring organization.
3.2 To abide by the rules,
regulations and by-laws of the International Chili Society and the terms and
conditions of the sanctioning agreement.
3.3 That the membership requirements of the
International Chili Society will be complied with and contestants
will not be allowed to compete without having applied for membership or
being a member in good standing
to the cookoff.
3.4 To submit to the
International Chili Society a completed Contestant List, membership
applications forms and fees submitted by contestants and names and addresses of
3.5 To provide, if
requested, copies of all press releases, photographs or other advertisements in
connection with the cookoff.
3.6 The Executive Director of
the International Chili Society reserves the right to designate a minimum of two (2) judges to judge for any sanctioned
3.7 A sanction fee will be charged to each
approved sanctioned cookoff.
3.8 A contestant entry fee of up to $35.00
and one gallon of Peoples Choice Chili that contains beans
or pasta may be charged to all contestants, or in lieu of a cash entry
fee, 2 gallons of Peoples’ Choice Chili.
Higher or additional entry fees must be approved by the ICS Executive Director.
3.9 The Board of Governors, and/or the Executive
Director of the International Chili Society reserve the right in their sole
discretion, and without explanation, for any reason that it sees fit to revoke
3.10 All cookoffs are sanctioned for a maximum of one year or until
the day after the date of the cookoff
ever shall first occur.
3.11 A minimum of seven (7)
contestants must compete for Red Chili, Chili Verde or Salsa to be eligible to
qualify its winner for the Last Chance Cookoff or the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff.
4. TERMS OF SANCTION:
Applicant is informed and
acknowledges that the name World’s Championship Chili Cookoff, World’s
Championship Salsa Contest, World’s Championship Chili Verde Contest, Americana
Food Festival, FireFest, and International Chili Society are proprietary
service marks of the International Chili Society. The sanctioning of any specific event and/or
use of any of the above names or combination thereof is limited to the
promotion of that event only. The sanctioned use of the names does not
constitute a partnership or joint venture, but is merely a limited license.
Applicants must agree to hold harmless the International Chili Society and its
officers from all claims and liabilities arising from the use of any of the
registered names by applicants. Applicant further understands and agrees to
hold harmless the International Chili Society and its officers from all claims
and liabilities arising from any chili cookoff event sponsored by applicants.
INTERNATIONAL CHILI SOCIETY APPROVALS:
A sanction certificate will
be issued by the International Chili Society upon approval of sanctioning.
COOK IN A SANCTIONED COOKOFF:
Any member in good standing
shall be eligible to apply to cook in any District or Regional Cookoff. State or foreign championships must designate
“residents only” or “open” to all members.
SECTION 2. METHOD OF ENTRY:
Applications to compete in a
sanctioned cookoff will be available and may be obtained from and submitted
to the cookoff Chairperson at the address shown in
the Society’s newspaper, flyers, website or other media
It is at the sole discretion
of the cookoff Chairperson to accept contestants who call by telephone or just
show up at the cookoff regardless of the number of official contestants
3. ACCEPTANCE OF CONTESTANTS
Acceptance of any member in good standing who
applies to cook in a District cookoff is mandatory if 25 or less applications
are received. It shall be the sole
discretion of the sponsoring organization to select those who will be permitted
to compete if 26 or more contestants apply. The
winner of one District Cookoff will qualify for the Last Chance Cookoff with no
entry fee. Anyone who wins two District
Cookoffs during one chili year will qualify for the World’s Championship.
any member in good standing who applies to cook in a State or Regional cookoff
if 25 or less applications are received.
It shall be at the sole discretion of the sponsoring organization to select
those who will be permitted to compete if 26 or more contestants apply. State cookoffs must be designated “open”
or “residents only.” State and Regional winners will be qualified for the
World’s Championship Finals. Anyone who has qualified for the World’s
Championship is not eligible to compete in any State or Regional cookoff that
qualifies for the current year World’s Championship. It is at the discretion of
the Chairperson if they want to charge the defending champion an entry fee or
The second place
winner of State/Regional championship will be eligible to compete at the
World’s Championship Finals if for any reason the winner is unable to compete,
however the 2nd place rule does not apply to Districts.
CHAMPIONSHIP CHILI COOKOFF;
for the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff Finals or Last Chance Cookoff must
complete a contestant application and return it to ICS headquarters.
Regional Champions shall be eligible to compete in the World’s Championship
Chili Cookoff Finals.
World’s Champion shall be eligible to compete in the World’s Championship
Finals the following year as Defending Champion.
the current year World’s Champion competes in a public non-sanctioned cookoff
during the year in which he or she is the current World’s Champion they will
give up their right as Defending Champion and will have to qualify to compete
the following year.
RULES & REGULATIONS
1. COOKING RULES & PROCEDURES.
chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination
of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various other spices, and other
ingredients with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which is strictly forbidden.
Chili Verde is
defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat, or combination
of meats, cooked with green chili peppers, various spices and other
ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which is strictly forbidden.
Salsa: There are no rules as to the ingredients or how to
prepare your salsa. It may be prepared at home and brought to the site that
day, or it may be store bought and brought to the site, or it may be prepared
may be pre-cooked in any way prior to the commencement of the official
cookoff. The only
exceptions are canned or bottled tomatoes, tomato sauce,
peppers, pepper sauce, beverages, broth and grinding and/or mixing of
spices. Meat may be treated, pre-cut or
ground. MEAT MAY NOT BE PRE-COOKED. All other ingredients must be chopped or
prepared during the preparation period.
1.1.5 You must be an ACTIVE ICS member to compete
in any ICS competition including Traditional Red Chili,
Chili Verde and Salsa. You must be at least 18 years old.
period will be a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 4 hours. The exact starting
and ending time of the cooking period is to be announced by each local
sponsoring organization. Cooking during the entire cooking period is at the
sole discretion of the contestant.
of the sponsoring organization shall conduct a contestants meeting, at which
instructions are to be given and questions answered, no
later than one (1) hour prior to designated starting time of the cookoff.
1.1.8 Contestants are responsible for supplying
all of their own cooking utensils, etc. and
should be prepared to provide a fire extinguisher and washing station, as they may be required by the
sponsoring organization. The sponsors
of the cookoff will
provide an area for each contestant and in some instances stoves and/or
1.1.9 Each contestant must cook a minimum of two quarts of competition chili prepared in one pot which will be submitted
for judging. Sharing or splitting Chili, Chili Verde or Salsa for
judging with another contestant for the purpose of
increasing the number of entries in any event will result in suspension of
ICS membership for a minimum of one
year. Any cookoff chairman, chief judge or scorekeeper knowingly
allowing cheating in any way at their event will
result in non-sanctioning of their event the following year, no exceptions.
Contestants will be permitted to participate in people’s choice chili with the approval of the
cookoff Chairperson and in compliance with all State and local agencies. It is at the discretion of each contestant if he
or she wants to participate in people’s choice, unless the sponsoring
organization requires people’s choice chili in lieu of the entry fee (
maximum) or in addition to the entry fee (
cooks should not be limited to a specific amount. Contestants may elect to pay a cash entry
fee rather than provide people’s
choice chili. PEOPLE’S CHOICE CHILI MUST
HAVE BEANS OR
will be assigned a contestant number by
the Chief Scorekeeper and be given an
oz. ICS judging cup. Each contestant should verify that the number
on the bottom of their cup is the
same as their assigned contestant number. Each contestant is responsible for delivering
their cup, which must be filled to the bottom of the cup’s rim, to the judging
area at the official time for judging.
Judges will be
told they should vote for the chili they like best based on the following major
Good flavor, texture of the meat,
consistency, blend of spices, aroma, and color
RULES & CLARIFICATIONS
The person whose
name appears on the SALSA CONTESTANT APPLICATION must be present at the Cookoff
and turn in the Salas themselves. In other words, absentee contestants will not
Salsa MUST be homemade. Salsa may be prepared ahead of time
or on site. It must be prepared by the ICS member whose name
appears on the official contestant list and who signs for the official
judging cup. Commercial salsa will not be accepted as an entry.
qualification for the World’s Championship in the current year, they may not
compete in any event
that would result in a second qualification.
is responsible for delivering their cup which must be filled to the bottom of
the cup’s rim.
Salsa is judged
by the same procedures as Red Chili and Chili Verde.
1. PREPARATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE JUDGING AREA.
It is the responsibility
of the Chief Judge to insure that the judging area is properly set up and all
including staff available to proceed with judging.
location is suggested to be relatively close to the contestants.
Set up of
judging tables based on number of contestants. 10 to 20 contestants – one
judging table: 21 to 40
Contestants – 2 preliminary tables & final table: 41 to
60 contestants – 3 preliminary tables and 1 final table.
One additional preliminary table for each 20 contestants. Preliminary tables
should be designated starting with A, B, C, etc.
needed in the judging area for all cookoffs.
32 oz. ICS
tally sheets (preliminary table & final table).
marking pen (need four or five)
–(need enough for each judge to use one for every taste and re-tasting).
flour tortillas, sour cream, non-salted crackers – for each judging table to be
used for judges to clear their palates.
Trash boxes for
receiving the contestant’s cups for judging.
Prior to the
start of the cooking period each contestant shall be assigned an official
contestant number starting with the 101 for red chili, 201 for Salsa, 301 for
Chili Verde. This is normally done by the Chief Scorekeeper, recording each
contestant’s name and number on the official contestant’s list. It is
suggested that this be done after the contestants are set up. Each contestants cooking area should be
clearly identified with their official contestant number.
Scorekeeper or a designated person shall number the bottom of each judging cup
with a black felt marking pen starting with the number 101, 201 or 301 showing
each contestants official number. These judging cups are to be given to each
contestant making certain each has their correct judging cup approximately 30
minutes prior to the end of the cooking period.
recommended that a collection table be placed in front of the judging area to
be used for collecting all the contestants judging cups.
The cups are
then placed AT RANDOM on the judging table or tables. It is recommended that each judging cup be
placed 12 to 18 inches apart around the table.
Scorekeeper or designated person numbers each cup on the judging table on both
sides of the cup, in the designated area, starting with the number 1 using a
black felt pen. Judging numbers for each
cup must be placed only on the cup and not on the tables or table covering.
The Chief Judge
starts the judging after cups on each table have been numbered.
2. SELECTING THE JUDGES & PROCEDURES.
It is the
responsibility of the cookoff chairperson to select a Chief Judge and judges
panel. Based on the
number of contestants, judges should be selected and the
following rules and procedures followed.
A Chief Judge
may not participate in the actual judging of chili if a relative or significant
other is cooking.
The Chief Judge
is responsible for the preparation and management of the judging area and to
insure that the judging rules and procedures of the International Chili Society
The Chief Judge
and/or the Cookoff Chairperson shall appoint a qualified person to be Chief
The Chief Judge
and/or the Cookoff Chairperson based on the number of contestants should invite
and confirm all chili judges. There is a minimum requirement of five (5) judges per table
10-20 contestants (1) judging table – 5 to 10 judges.
21-40 contestants (2) preliminary (1) final table – 15 to 30 judges.
11-60 contestants (3) preliminary tables (1) final – 20-40 judges.
61-80 contestants (4) preliminary tables (1) final – 25-50 judges.
It is recommended that there is at least one (1) judge for every two (2)
The Chief Judge
and/or the Cookoff Chairperson shall conduct a contestant meeting no later than
one (1) hour prior to the designated time for cooking to answer any questions
and to explain the ICS judging rules and procedures. All contestants should be told that they must
be a current active member of the ICS to compete or they will be disqualified.
The Chief Judge
is responsible for seeing that each contestant is assigned an official
contestant number starting with number 101 for Red Chili, 201 for Salsa and 301
for Chili Verde, and the contestant name and team name printed clearly on the
official contestant list.
The Chief Judge
should conduct a judges meeting approximately 30 minutes prior to the end of
the cooking period. It is mandatory that
the Chief Judge reviews the ICS judging rules and regulations as stated. The
ICS has no absolute guidelines indicating how each judge should vote in making
their winning decision. Major
characteristics to consider are:
GOOD FLAVOR and chili pepper taste (not too hot, not too
TEXTURE of the meat (not too tough or not too mushy)
CONSISTENCY (not too thick or not too thin)
BLEND OF THE SPICES and how well they have permeated the
AROMA, usually a personal preference
The Chief Judge should suggest that perhaps
the best way to determine their choice is to say to themselves,
“if I am to only
have one type of chili for the rest of my life, which cup on this table would I
Chief Judge instructs all judges as to the following procedures:
Judges may start
at any bowl when the Chief Judge starts the judging, moving around the table
counter clockwise. They may re-taste at
their own discretion. Judging is a
process of elimination and re-tasting is permitted until each judge has chosen
their top three (3) cups.
Taste each cup
and make whatever comments they want on their ballots.
Use a clean
spoon for each taste.
palate with condiments that are on the judging table such as beer, water,
crackers, flour tortillas, sour cream, etc.
Do not make any
comments or gestures about any of the cups that might influence the decision of
Each judge must
enter their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winning
cups as indicated on their ballot and give it to the Chief Scorekeeper. It is requested that all judges sign their ballots.
stay in the general judging area but away from scorekeepers and judging tables
until the Chief Judge and the Chief Scorekeeper have declared that there is a
In the event of
a tie vote for any of the places, the Chief Judge shall appoint three (3)
judges as “tie-
breakers”. The tie-breaker judges shall re-taste only the
cups involved in the tie and give their decisions to the Chief
Scorekeeper. The cup receiving the most
votes from the tie breaking judges is declared the winner of the tie and the
other cup or cups are moved down one position. Ties are broken only for those places which there are to be given prizes
and/or awards. Normally, first (1st)
through third (3rd) or fifth (5) place.
The Chief Judge
and all scorekeepers shall not divulge or discuss the winners until after the
Cookoff Chairperson or designated person has announced the winners to the
tables will be designated as A, B, C, etc. depending on how many contestants.
When there are
21 or more contestants, the cups shall be numbered consecutively up to the
number of entries and distributed, AT RANDOM, as evenly between preliminary
tables as possible, but with no more than 20 cups on any preliminary table.
preliminary tables, it is MANDATORY to take the top 5 plus ties for 5th place to the final table.
or more preliminary tables, there is the OPTION to take 3, 4, or 5 cups plus
ties to the final table.
Ties are not
broken on the preliminary tables. Applies to State, Regional, and District
Chili Cookoffs only.
Ties for 5th place will be broken on the preliminary tables: applies to World’s Championship
Chili Cookoff only.
If there are
twenty (20) or less contestants there will only be one judging table. Cups will be
placed AT RANDOM on the table and then numbered on the
outside of the judging cup with a felt pen, with the numbers 1-2-3-4-etc. up
to a maximum of 20.
WWhen there are
twenty one (21) or more contestants, and preliminary tables are judged, the
winning cups from each preliminary table will be placed AT RANDOM in an
unmarked 32 oz ICS judging cup on the final table.
c.span style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>
When all cups
have been moved from preliminary tables to the final table, they are then numbered
with a black felt pen on the outside of the cup starting with 1-2-3-4,
etc. This is sometimes referred to as
“double cupping” and is MANDATORY on the final table.
It is suggested
but not mandatory that final table judges judge only the final table, and not
4. CHIEF SCOREKEEPER
No one may be a
scorekeeper or Chief Scorekeeper if a relative is competing.
It is the
responsibility of the Chief Scorekeeper to record the judges votes on the
tally sheet and total the votes for each contestant.
Scorekeeper should have a least one assistant and preferably two, one to read
and two to write. If there are preliminaries and a final table it is
recommended that there be three assistants for each preliminary table, one to
read and two to write.
When a judge
gives the scorekeeper his/her ballot they should review the ballot with the
what they have voted for and that they placed the winning
cups number on the ballot in the proper place.
The ballots are
then read to the two scorekeepers who records the points for each ballot on the
sheet. This is
verbalized as it is printed on the judging ballot. First Place Cup #…….3
Cup #…….2 points------
Cup #……..1 point.
After all the
ballots have been received from the judges and entered on the ICS scorekeepers
sheet, the Scorekeepers shall then add up the
points for each judging cup number and enter the total in the space provided.
They should then compare totals to make sure they both agree.
After all the
votes have been tallied the Chief Scorekeeper verifies the winning cups and
gives the list to the
Chief Judge. The
Chief Judge then raises the winning cups to determine the contestants official
number on the bottom of each cup and gives the contestant number to the Chief
Scorekeeper who records them on the ICS scorekeepers master tally sheet.
4.8 It is the
responsibility of the Chief Scorekeeper to lift all the cups and record the
official contestant numbers on the bottom of the cups to the scorekeeper’s
master tally sheet opposite the judging cup numbers. This will provide all contestants with how
many points they received and to view judge’s comments if ballots are posted.
review the ballots and master tally sheet within one hour of the announcement