Cullman EMS Chili Cook-Off raises more than $2K for Curt’s Closet

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Left to right are Adam Taylor (second place overall), Jared and Laney Johnson (first place overall), Curt’s Closet Founder Ashley Wilson and Cullman EMS Director Phyllis Little (third place overall). Not pictured is Buddy Fowler, who won the Hottest Chili award. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – It was a perfect night for a hot bowl of chili as a large crowd came out for Cullman Emergency Medical Services’ (EMS’) fifth annual 9-1-1 Chili Supper and Cook-off. Fifteen competitors from Cullman County’s first responder community put up their best chili recipes to raise money for local nonprofit Curt’s Closet. This year’s event raised $2,083. 

The competition was held at Cullman First Baptist Church, where guests could sample as many of the entries as they wanted before giving their entry tickets to the competitor whose chili they favored for a full bowl.

For those who preferred their chili more on the “flame thrower” side, Jones Chapel Volunteer Fire Department Chief Buddy Fowler’s entry was on-point, taking the Hottest Chili award.

Cullman Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Phyllis Little’s white bean chili was awarded third place overall.

Adam Taylor, representing Trimble Volunteer Fire Department, took home second place.

This year’s first-place award went to Jared Johnson from Logan Volunteer Fire Department and his daughter, Laney. 

Curt’s Closet Founder Ashley Wilson said through tears, “There are absolutely no words to describe my gratitude. I love each and every one of you so much.”

Wilson retold the events of May 7, 2017 when she and her son, Curtis Wilson, were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Curtis did not survive.

She said of Curt’s Closet, “It is my way to make sure Curtis is never forgotten and that his love and the bright light he shined on this community never dies.”

Music for the event was provided by Jessie Priest Music, and several door and raffle prizes were donated by local businesses and artists. 

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Jones Chapel Volunteer Fire Department Chief Buddy Fowler took home the Hottest Chili award. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)
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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com