NOLANVILLE — Overcast skies had no effect on the mood at Cavazos Elementary School on Saturday afternoon.

The PTO held its first Hoedown Showdown chili cook-off and silent basket auction at the annual spring carnival.

Money raised benefits a variety of programs at the school, including art, physical education, technology and outdoor education. It also will help purchase a cover for the playground.

“We ran out of tickets and had to find something to use as backup,” said Amy Salas, PTO president. “We will make well over $5,000 today, and it all goes back to the school and the students.”

Judging the six dishes in the chili contest were: Police Chief Gary Kent; City Manager Stephen Pearl; Mayor Christina Rosenthal; Tony Wright, assistant fire chief for Central Bell County Fire and Rescue; and J.J. Johnson, director of student, district and community relations for the Killeen Independent School District.

“I consider myself a connoisseur of great cuisine,” Kent said about lending his taste buds to the contest.

Earning the Judge’s Champion award was Jeremy Myers for his “Hot Stuff” chili, and Bonita Henderson took home the People’s Choice award for her “Intenso” version. “I’ve actually always wanted to enter into a chili contest because I knew my chances would be pretty good,” Myers said of his win. “My kids are pretty proud of me and they think I am a pretty cool dad now.”

Children and families enjoyed taking a ride on the “Cyber Spin,” playing in the bounce houses, testing their skills in the inflatable jousting arena, reaching new heights at the rock climbing wall and testing their luck at several carnival-themed games. | 254-501-7567

Contact Vanessa Lynch at or 254-501-7567.

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