The General Assembly Wild Game Chili Cook-Off is hereby dead and buried. Thank you for your support over the last 26 years. A special thanks goes to all of the cooks who volunteered their time and recipes.
The Virginia Sportsmen’s Foundation hosted the 26th Annual Wild Game Chili Cook-Off on Thursday, January 19, 2017 in downtown Richmond at the beginning of the General Assembly session. Thank you to all of the cooks, judges and volunteers who made the event a success, including former Delegate Albert Pollard for providing the steamed oyster bar.
Will is a good, old friend and also President of the Virginia Sportsmen’s Foundation, which works to expand opportunities for hunting and fishing in Virginia and also hosts a number of educational and social events to elevate sportsmen’s issues among policymakers in Richmond. One of my favorite is their annual Wild Game Chili Cookoff hosted by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s office that always brings a cross-section of Virginia to feast in venison, fowl, and other kinds of chili.
“My operation runs a 13 month-a-year calendar,” jokes Ike, who owns and operates 001 Outdoor Adventures based out of Albemarle County, Virginia. Ike cut his teeth growing up in the mountains of Wise County, Virginia and spent years guiding for black bears in the back woods of Maine. His main operation these days is guiding upland bird hunts on his property in the Piedmont of Virginia, including pheasant, chukar, and quail.
“We continue to put on this event because it’s one of the rare times when you can get legislators, government officials, lobbyists and staffers together just for fun,” said foundation president Will Payne. “It’s a no-politics zone and frankly is, for many of the attendees, the only time of the year they get to try wild game.”
Ike Wright and his son have been teaching the hunter skills class for the past 15 years and say that it’s important for people to get the fundamentals and to remember that safety is at the top of the list. “Safety is everyone’s responsibility so take that back to your community, your home, people you’re around, that safety is our number one priority,” says Wright, outdoor hunting education instructor and Deputy Sheriff for Albemarle Co.