The 9th Annual
Chili Challenge

To benefit Boys & Girls Club of ROchester

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Thank you to all of the teams, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees who made the 9th Annual Chili Challenge a tremendous success for Boys & Girls Club of Rochester. Together, we raised more than $51,000 that will directly impact the lives of youth in our community. Congratulations to the winners in all categories!


The Real Deal: Treasure Island Resort & Casino
2) Power Partner (44 North/Castle Community)
3) Five West

Anything Goes: Bleu Duck Kitchen
2) Somerby
3) Rochester Golf & Country Club

Vegetarian: Boys & Girls Club of Rochester
2) Treasure Island Resort & Casino


People's Choice: Rochester Sand & Gravel (Half Barrel)
2) Rochester Golf & Country Club
3) People's Food Co-op

Spicy Spirit: Mayo Clinic KER Unit
2) Knutson Construction
3) People's Food Co-op

Kids' Choice was a Two Way Tie!
Rochester Golf & Country Club


Brewers' Choice: Jason Schwartz, "Count Hopula" Red IPA

People's Choice: Jeremy Hildman, Vanilla Cream Ale
2) Joe Eischen, Summer Ale
3) Christopher Hofich, Saison with Ginger

Best of Show: Joe Eischen, Witbier

Thank you to our 2017 Chili Challenge Committee!

Naura Anderson
Bonnie McGoon

Team Acquisition
Breanna Holtan, Chair
Rachel Bohman
Scott Hoss

Homebrew Contest
John Eishen, Chair
John Beatty
Steve Finnie
Kerk Johnson

Sarah Broughton

Heather Nessler

Volunteer Coordinator
Lindsey Rippentrop

Tamara Berg
Cindy Hanson

Jodi Millerbernd, Executive Director
Jessica Sund, Operations Manager
Ellen Tolleson, Assistant Executive Director
Lori Trotman, Director of Marketing & Special Events


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Saucy Sponsors


additional support

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Homebrew Contest Sponsors


Click here for more information on Homebrew Contest Sponsorship.


Our generous sponsors provide much-needed support for Boys & Girls Club of Rochester programs. Please contact Lori Trotman, Director of Marketing & Special Events, to further discuss sponsorship opportunities: or 507.226.0107.


BURNIN':  $10,000

  • One chili entry & booth space
  • Twelve tickets to the event
  • Premiere logo placement on all media recognition & event materials, including Chili Challenge and Boys & Girls Club Rochester websites, news media, and tickets

SMOKIN':  $5,000 

  • One chili entry & booth space
  • Ten tickets to the event
  • Logo placement on all media recognition & event materials
  • Sponsor recognition on Chili Challenge website and Boys & Girls Club Rochester website

ZESTY:  $2,500

  • One chili entry & booth space
  • Eight tickets to the event
  • Logo placement on some media recognition & event materials
  • Sponsor recognition on Chili Challenge website and Boys & Girls Club Rochester website

SAUCY:  $1,250  

  • One chili entry & booth space
  • Six tickets to the event
  • Company logo exposure on Chili Challenge website

BOOTH:  $300 

  • One chili entry & booth space
  • Four tickets to the event 
  • Team recognition at event


  • Recognition at one of the event activities
  • One banner displayed at event
  • Four tickets to event


Click here to download more information about sponsorship.


Click here to see past event winners in all categories!

Want to Participate?

Teams can be made up of individuals from businesses and corporations, a group of private individuals with a darn good recipe, or commercial vendors that are willing to pit their talents against anyone – all for a great cause!

Here’s what you need to know if you choose to participate:  

Chilies will be judged by a local panel of judges in the following categories:                    

  • The Real Deal- any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with chili peppers, various other spices, and other ingredients with the exception of items such as beans or spaghetti, which are strictly forbidden.
  • Anything Goes- the name says it all
  •  Vegetarian- this is a chili made without any meat products

The following categories will be judged by the public:

  • Peoples’ Choice- people attending the Chili Challenge will vote on their favorite chili
  • Spicy Spirit- people attending the Chili Challenge will vote on their favorite decorated booth and enthusiastic team
  • Kids’ Choice- kids attending the Chili Challenge will vote on their favorite chili

Participation fee:  $300 per booth
(additional sponsorship benefits at higher levels)


All chili must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. Boys & Girls Club of Rochester has a list of available commercial kitchens in the community; if you need help finding a kitchen, please contact Lori Trotman at 507-226-0107 or

All participants must register in advance and adhere to all rules and regulations set forth by Boys & Girls Club of Rochester and Olmsted County Public Health.  

Click here to download the team information & registration form.


2017 will be the third year of the popular Homebrew Competition. More than 20 local beer enthusiasts will offer samples of their home-brewed beer for tasting, side-by-side with Rochester’s craft brewing companies. We invite you to participate in this increasingly popular competition!


BREWING CO.:  One Keg + $300 donation 

  • One craft beer entry & booth space
  • Four tickets to the event 
  • Company recognition at event

HOMEBREWER:  5 gallon donation

  • One craft beer entry & booth space
  • Two tickets to the event 
  • Individual recognition at event




The homebrew donation requirement is five gallons; beer may be in bottles or a keg. Labels are not necessary, but we will ask for the name and style of your brew. Tasting cups will be provided by BGCR.


Registrations are taken on a first come, first served basis and there are a limited number of entries. In our inaugural year, participants are welcome to bring multiple brews, as long as you provide the minimum five gallon donation of each.


Our theme is “Beers that pair well with chili,” so the style you choose is up to you. All entries will be judged based on the same criteria, not categorized by style. (See GRAND PRIZE section below for stipulations for the "Brewer's Choice" winner.)


The Homebrew Competition will be judged in two different categories - Brewer’s Choice (done between four teams: one professional brewer with one BJCP [Beer Judge Certification Program] judge per team), Best of Show, and People’s Choice (voted on by event attendees). 


Boys & Girls Club of Rochester is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Please consult with your tax professional regarding the specifics of this charitable contribution and any potential deductions.


All beverages must be made and transported in containers and equipment that shall not allow the migration of toxic substances.

State law requires each station to include a disclosure related to home brew that states “the unlicensed naturally fermented fruit juices or beer being offered is homemade and not subject to state inspection, and may be consumed by persons over the age of 21 at their own risk.” The notice must include the name and address of the person who processed and bottled the beverage. This will be provided to participants by BGCR and must remain visible in the participant’s booth.

A member of the Chili Challenge committee will be reaching out to you in late August to collect specific information about your beer for promotional material, signage, etc...



Homebrewers will compete for not only bragging rights, but the opportunity to have your beer brewed and on tap at Forager Brewery in Rochester! Winner of the “Brewer’s Choice” competition will be invited to brew their winning recipe* with Head Brewer Austin Jevne. The winning beer will be offered on tap at Forager and $1 of each pint sold will be donated back to the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester.

*Limited to styles that can be brewed and conditioned with the equipment available at Forager.

All participants must register in advance and adhere to all rules and regulations set forth by Boys & Girls Club of Rochester and Olmsted County Public Health.

Click here to download the Homebrew information & registration form.

Six Mile Grove

It all started in the small town of Lyle, MN (pop. 500) with a skid loader and a fence post, when Six Mile Grove frontman Brandon Sampson was 7 years old. He injured his hand when helping his dad on the family farm. The physician recommended guitar playing for rehabilitation, and a few weeks later, Sampson came home from the music store with a new guitar. His younger brother Brian threw a fit, and was appeased with a shiny drum set. And so the seeds of Six Mile Grove were planted.

The brothers spent years pounding away on their instruments in the kitchen of their great grandmother’s old house, as well as singing in church with their mom, an organist and devoted music lover. Soon Brian’s friend Barry, from across the woods, wanted to join the noise, and so his years of piano lessons began paying off. The boys realized they would need a bass player, put an ad in the paper, and dug up Dezi Wallace from the “big city” of Austin, MN, who arrived courtesy of his mom, as he did not yet have a driver’s license.

Fast forward 20 years, and Six Mile Grove has a lot to be proud of. They have weathered the ever changing music scene as a primarily self-managed, self-produced, and self-recorded band. Their music has evolved accordingly, as an organic, honest voice that has not been tinkered with or tainted by the lure of record labels or flashy music producers. You’re sure to find influences of Minnesota music’s founding fathers; from Bob Dylan to the Jayhawks.  Six Mile Grove honors it’s roots, but has also managed to forge it’s own sound and space on a stage without compromise.  In addition, their friendship, touring and recording with legendary Johnny Cash guitarist Bob Wootton, has lended even more distinctly to their “good all-American boy” sound and style.

Six Mile Grove is releasing it’s seventh album this Summer 2017.  In this album, Sampson muses on the responsibilities of providing for a family, keeping love alive, and fighting for what’s right in the world. These themes resonate with all the members of the band, as guys with day jobs, wives and kids. You’ll hear the whines and growls in Nelson’s piano and lead guitar licks; the take-it-easy pace of Wallace’s bass, the newly added color of John Wheeler’s steel guitar and the simple to furious tempos in Brian Sampson’s drums.
As Wootton states, “There’s nothing fancy about them and they don’t try to be something they’re not. And that’s what I like about them.”

Root River Jam is an original acoustic Americana band. Based in SE MN, their blend of many different styles includes folk, rock, celtic, blues and jazz! They perform the original music of guitarist and front man Dave Wilson, as well as covers of Americana classics. In the words of music blogger Jeff Hansel, Wilson’s music will “take you into the clouds and beyond with incredible instrumentals and joyous singing that's downright fun to hear.” Upright bassist Blake Bonde’s formal classical training gives him a broad musical vocabulary, ranging from furious jazz pizzicato to lush arco. Violinist David Beyer, who grew up in Missouri playing fiddle contests from a young age, brings a twangy edge to Root River Jam’s jazzy and energetic sound.


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Thank you to Bleu Duck Kitchen for providing hospitality for our musicians.


Chili Challenge will have a variety of activities for the entire family! Activity tickets are $1 each and available for purchase at the event or in a bundle of 10 in advance. Activities range from 0 – 3 tickets to participate. Here are a few of the things you can expect at this year's event:

Medcity Mafia Roller Derby
Yoga Tribe
Giant Jenga
Face & Hair Painting
Cotton Candy
Hot Dogs (great with chili on top!)
Old Abe's Coffee Cart

Human Foosball
Prairie Walls Climbing Wall
Archery Addiction
Photo Booth
Giant Bounce House
Toddler Bounce House
Med City Freeze Football
Med City FC Soccer

Thank You to our Activity Sponsors