The First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove hosted its annual chili cook-off Sunday, to the delight of dozens of members of the congregation who spent the evening tasting each recipe and socializing.

The competition featured nearly 20 entries vying to win best presentation, best corn bread and best chili.

Themes for the contestants ranged from the topical — the Super Bowl, the movie “Frozen” — to the various church ministry groups that produced the chili.

Whitney Ansons won first place for best chili, a concoction that included deer meat her husband recently hunted in their backyard.

“We’re excited. This is our first year here at the church,” she said, decked out in camouflage alongside her family, to match their table’s “Duck Dynasty” theme. The Ansons belong to the church’s Marriage Matters group, and her chili was selected from one of four from the group to compete at the cook-off.

Patty Sue Keear was only able to try “the scrapings” of Ansons’ chili, but it was delicious, she said.

As a 23-year member of the church, Keear knows a thing or two about the chili competition, which has been running as many years.

“The third-place winner was also delicious and mild,” Keear said, and she enjoyed a corn bread “that’s sweet like cake.”

The event is mainly about fellowship, said Pastor Mark Kemp.

“It’s friendly competition,” he said with a laugh. “We always get a big turnout.”

The winners get the satisfaction of winning, Kemp said.

The second-place chili featured moose and reindeer meat prepared by Aaron Brown, a Copperas Cove-native who now resides in Anchorage, Alaska.

“I love making chili,” he said. “It’s Texas-base with Alaskan (additions). You just put a little beans, Rotel, salsa and a lot of TLC.”

Contact Madison Lozano​ at or 254-501-7552.

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