UNITED WAY OF STEPHENS COUNTY
DRH CHILI COOKOFF
Oct. 29, 2018
Budlong wins chili cook-off again
Vera Budlong, relying on an old family recipe that will remain a secret, repeated as the winner of the ninth annual Duncan Regional Hospital’s chili cook-off here Monday.
The highly competitive contest, with bragging rights on the line, attracted 13 entrants and officially launched the hospital’s internal fund-raising campaign for the United Way of Stephens County.
“I was surprised,” Budlong, now Education Supervisor at the hospital, said of her repeat win, even though she used essentially the same recipe as last year “with a little more of this and a little less of that.
“It’s really a blind competition. You never know who is going to enter or how many will compete, but I guess dad’s recipe makes some pretty good chili.”
Her winning entry beat 12 other entries in stiff competition that included two former winners and last year’s People’s Choice winner and enabled her to retain the coveted championship trophy in her office another year.
Dustin “Tiny” Rhodes, a physical therapy assistant, finished second this year and Kristen Webb, CNO and VP for Patient Care Services, was third.
President and CEO Jay Johnson claimed the People’s Choice Award.
“It was one of our best events ever,” LeAnn McCord, ICU Clinical Team Supervisor and chairman of the Duncan Regional campaign, beamed.
“We had a great turnout, a lot of fun and some healthy competition,” she continued. “It was a great team effort, as is our support for the United Way and its agencies.
“It was good for our morale, gave us the opportunity to have good fellowship and has become an event that is a popular way to start our annual campaign.”
In years past, Duncan Regional has been the largest team donor and will extend that successful record when it reaches its 2018-19 goal of $54,000.
“It’s an ambitious target, we know,” McCord said, “but we’re going to make it.”
Other participants were 2015 winner Kathy Deevers, Chris Genn, Jack Hyatt, Linda Irwin, Johnson, Dawn Lawson, Kenya Nail. Lee Nail, Rhodes, Jamie Torgensen, 2010 winner Doug Volinski and Webb.
Three-time winner Casey Anderson (2011, 2012 and 2013) did not enter, but Budlong, now a two-time champion, said she may issue her co-worker a challenge for next year’s competition.
“I may try a little something different,” Budlong suggested, “and it would be fun to have Casey in the competition.”
Other previous winners are Robby Thompson, 2014; and Jessie Gordon, 2016.
The United Way of Stephens County was started in 1954 as the Community Chest and is in its 65th year with has a goal of $325,000.
Team members who turned in their pledge cards at the cook-off were eligible for prizes provided by Advanced Medical Supply, Duncan Regional Hospital Auxiliary and Chisholm Corner.
United Way partners are CASA of Southwest Oklahoma, Christians Concerned, Douglass East Side Senior Citizens Center, Duncan Community Residence, Duncan Area Literacy Council, Duncan Senior Citizens Center, Gabriel’s House, Heartline 2-1-1, Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Marlow Samaritans and Safe Center (formerly Women’s Haven).
The United Way telephone number is (580) 255-3648. Contributions can be sent to P.O. Box 1632, Duncan, 73534.