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Hot chili for a cold day

CSU Women’s Forum hold popular cook-off fundraiser

Robert Bracket, the husband of Clayton State University Women’s Forum President Lou Brackett, pours chili for faculty and staff members during the forum’s annual Chili Cook-Off fundraiser Thursday.

Robert Bracket, the husband of Clayton State University Women’s Forum President Lou Brackett, pours chili for faculty and staff members during the forum’s annual Chili Cook-Off fundraiser Thursday.

— Clayton State University Building Operations Manager Michael Campbell was a wanted man Thursday.

Or, rather, his chili was a wanted food.

Campbell had made his trademark deer meat chili for the university’s Women’s Forum Chili Cook-Off scholarship fundraiser. He processes the meat himself, and takes the vegetables straight from his garden to make the chili from scratch. He adds B-fat to make the deer meat taste more like beef.

The combination — called Buck-et Of Chili — proved to be popular with faculty, staff and students who attended the cook-off. Campbell had to bring out a second bowl mid-way through the event because the chili was going so fast, and attendees voted his offering to be their favorite meal.

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Curt Yeomans

Clayton State University freshman Alex Ramirez and junior Trinh Nguyen taste a chili that contains turkey meat during the school’s Women’s Forum Chili Cook-Off fundraiser Thursday. Seventeen chilis were available for sampling at the event.

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Curt Yeomans

Clayton State University students, faculty and staff taste some of the chilis available for sampling the school’s Women’s Forum Chili Cook-Off scholarship fundraiser Thursday.

“Are you the deer slayer?” said one attendee to Campbell as she searched for his table.

“Yeah, that would be me,” he said as he laughed at the new moniker his chili had brought him.

The total dollar figures are not yet available but Women’s Forum officials said they expected the cook-off, as well as an affiliated online auction and quilt raffle, to bring in big dollars for scholarships the group provides to female students and staff.

“It’s our main fundraiser for the year,” said Women’s Forum President Lou Bracket, who made the quilt which was auctioned off. “It’s actually a bargain because it’s only $5.”

Clayton State Communications Coordinator Delores Cox said the forum has raised $80,000 for its scholarship fund over the last 10 years. She said $25,000 has been put aside in an endowment to fund scholarships, and the remaining money has already been handed out through the scholarships to students and staff.

“Over 90 percent of our scholarship recipients have either graduated already, or are still in college so it’s been a pretty good return on our investment,” said Cox, who oversaw the online auction side of the fundraiser.

During the cook-off, faculty and staff present their best chili offerings. Judges from the university taste each chili and hand out awards to what they feel are the three best chilis present. A separate popular vote was held, where students, faculty and staff got to vote for their favorite chili.

Natural Sciences Department Chairwoman Michelle Furlong won first place in the judges’ voting for the second year in a row for her Tallulah Gorge Chili, followed by Campbell’s Buck-et Of Chili which took second and retired professor Tom Eddins got third-place honors for his Run Of The Mill Chili.

Among the popular voting, Campbell took first place, followed by network and enterprise services employee Todd Birchfield and grand accounting and compliance Director Vickie F. Smith.

“I could care less if I win,” said Campbell. “I just do it for the fun of it.”

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