Miami organization hosts Chili Smackdown to raise funds for youth programs

MIAMI, Okla. –The Elks Lodge in Miami is a community-based organization that runs multiple youth programs. These programs require money, which caused the lodge to brainstorm fundraising ideas.

On Sunday, they decided to put together a Chili Smackdown. This event was organized in as little as two weeks.

“We’ve got door prizes, we’ve got silent Auction things, they pounded the pavement, they went business to business getting donations, gift certificates, I mean all that stuff, and like I said in two weeks, they pulled off a huge accomplishment,”  said Robin Priest, who works at the lodge.

The “smackdown” included 20 different chilis, where event participants got to judge their favorites.

“We have a category for the best named Chili, we just have a lot of people who really kind of took this on and made it happen,” said Priest.

The money from this event goes towards initiatives for their youth holiday programs.

“Towards our children’s activity funds, for our Easter program, our Halloween program, and our Christmas program. It just goes to whatever we can put back into the community, wherever we can help.”

Martin Priest entered a half sausage and half ground beef chili into the mix but says he cares more about the cause that the event helps rather than winning.

“Yeah it is a competition, I don’t really care, it doesn’t matter to me if I win or not. It’s helping raise money for the lodge. I was the chair on the Christmas basket committee one year where we gave out food, if a family has children we give out presents as well, and it’s pretty nice being able to help people out like that,”  he said.

In addition to the chili, the event also contained a hula hoop contest as well as a pool tournament, ensuring more of the community would show up to support this cause.