Iowa Food · North Central Iowa

Fort Dodge Food Frenzy

The Fort Dodge Chili Lover's Society was holding their 33rd annual Chili Cook-Off and that's all we needed to hear. ROAD TRIP!
The Fort Dodge Chili Lover’s Society was holding their 33rd annual Chili Cook-Off and that’s all we needed to hear. ROAD TRIP!

Fort Dodge, IA: Webster County

“I was curious if you would like to judge our chili cook-off?” -Justin Goodno, President of the Fort Dodge Chili Lovers Society. My response? Let’s just say there’s one less thing on the ole bucket list. The leaves are starting to turn and there’s a daily crisp in the air. Autumn in Iowa and the beginning of chili season. Because the fine folks of Webster County say its time for chili season…..That’s why! But, the cook-off wouldn’t be the only platter that Fort Dodge would serve up to the Iowa Gallivant. Before the food, there would be the frenzy!

Let the invasion begin! Charlie and the old man take on Fort Frenzy! http://www.fortfrenzy.com/home https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Frenzy-626426637386351/timeline/
Let the invasion begin! Charlie and the old man take on Fort Frenzy!
http://www.fortfrenzy.com/home
https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Frenzy-626426637386351/timeline/

Just another bright and sunny October weekend in the high 70’s. Bring that on any day my friends! Fort Frenzy had the building buzzing inside and out. Laser tag, go-carts, bumper boats, prizes and….what is that!

Where can you find the only Star Wars Battle Pod in the state of Iowa? At Fort Frenzy in Fort Dodge! Weekend officially complete. But, we still had more plans.
Where can you find the only Star Wars Battle Pod in the state of Iowa? At Fort Frenzy in Fort Dodge! Weekend officially complete. But, we still had more plans.
If watching your son simulate the first Death Star battle from
If watching your son simulate the first Death Star battle from “A New Hope” from the viewpoint of an imperial tie fighter doesn’t put a tear in your eye than I don’t know what will.
We ripped it up om the track too. Charlie did well for a rookie, but his dad needed to teach him a little lesson on the corners. Charlie spun me out several times. I didn't corner well.
We ripped it up om the track too. Charlie did well for a rookie, but his dad needed to teach him a little lesson on the corners. Charlie spun me out several times. I didn’t corner well.

After a round of putt-putt, a zombie hunt in the laser tag room, taking our aggregation out on the bumper cars and boats, and several rounds through the arcade games we felt our invasion of Fort Frenzy went off without a hitch. Job well done Frenzy’s! We’d stay longer, but our gastro-tour of Fort Dodge must commence. We prepped ourselves with the consumption of dry cereal, apples, nuts, and plenty of H20. We knew what was in store for us. Brace yourselves. Ft. Dodge is cooking…..

The Cubs and Cardinals game is on and where else would you go to get a great meal during a time like this? Sports Page Bar & Grill was bringing the heat all day long on a busy Saturday full of sporting events. https://www.facebook.com/SportsPageFD?fref=ts http://www.sportspagefd.com/
The Cubs and Cardinals game is on and where else would you go to get a great meal during a time like this? The Sports Page Bar & Grill was bringing the heat all day long on a busy Saturday full of sporting events.
https://www.facebook.com/SportsPageFD?fref=ts
http://www.sportspagefd.com/

The Sports Page had tons of TVs, friendly and speedy service, a stadium like atmosphere, and killer food! We were hungry for baseball and large sandwiches. The Sports Page had us more than covered with there detailed menu that was a force to be reckoned with.

Wondering where one Iowa's best club sandwiches may reside? Take a little trip to The Sports Page in Ft. Dodge and try to tell me this isn't tasty.
Wondering where one of Iowa’s best club sandwiches may reside? Take a little trip to The Sports Page in Ft. Dodge and try to tell me this isn’t tasty.
What this plate could use is a little more cheese, perhaps. Say hello to the Pretzel Baconcheeseburger. I think it's a family name. It's partner is a big ole bowl of mac and cheese. That was a good time!
What this plate could use is a little more cheese, perhaps. Say hello to the Pretzel Baconcheeseburger. I think it’s a family name. It’s partner is a big ole bowl of mac and cheese. That was a good time!

Our evening was coming to a close so, we made our way back to our home for the night- The Best Western Starlite Village. After a few laps around the pool and a walk around the grounds, we quickly found time to curl up in our beds at our suite.

Charlie snores. And he cheats at go-carts.
Charlie snores. And he cheats at go-carts.

The morning of the big cook-off came and we prepped ourselves for the impending marathon of chili galore. It would be a few hours to go until we needed to report for duty, so that meant we had time to stop by an iconic Ft. Dodge restaurant for a tremendous breakfast.

Ft. Dodge's Tom Thumb Drive-In. 1412 A Street West. A great menu with tons of made from scratch selections and baked goods prepared and loaded in the oven just down the hall from the dining room.
Ft. Dodge’s Tom Thumb Drive-In. 1412 A Street West. A great menu with tons of made from scratch selections and baked goods prepared and loaded in the oven just down the hall from the dining room.
Just a little sample of the large selection of homemade pastries. Sweet or savory? Tom Thumb allows you have both if you should chose to do so.
Just a little sample of the large selection of homemade pastries. Sweet or savory? Tom Thumb allows you have both if you should chose to do so.
Somewhere behind this huge omelet is my son. Let's call it awesome shall we.
Somewhere behind this huge omelet is my son. Let’s call it awesome shall we.
Hope Your'e not tired of The Iowa Gallivant's Biscuits & Gravy quest because we're only getting warmed up! Click on the link below to see if Tom Thumb is a finalists for our 2015 Best B&G award! https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/08/23/tour-de-biscuits-gravy-the-2015-search-for-iowas-best-plate-of-our-favorite-comfort-meal-2/
Hope you’re not tired of The Iowa Gallivant’s Biscuits & Gravy quest because we’re only getting warmed up! Click on the link below to see if Tom Thumb is a finalists for our 2015 Best B&G award! https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/08/23/tour-de-biscuits-gravy-the-2015-search-for-iowas-best-plate-of-our-favorite-comfort-meal-2/

A couple hours later, we drove to the Fort Museum and set our eyes on the main event. The 33rd annual Chili Cook-Off was the motor for us to return to Fort Dodge and we needed to get our judge faces on. Not sure what that means, but we managed to figure it out.

Some of the most important people in America on this day. At least I thought so. Me and my fellow judges awaiting samples from the hard working contestants. https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Dodge-Chili-Lovers-Society-115180271862673/timeline/
Some of the most important people in America on this day. At least I thought so. My fellow judges and I awaiting samples from the hard-working contestants.
https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Dodge-Chili-Lovers-Society-115180271862673/timeline/

By the time the cook-off got roaring, we were all enjoying a nice breeze on a cloudless day at 83 degrees. We all know what’s ahead of us and that’s the Iowa winter. The Webster County sun-soakers were out in full force and ready for a long day of cooking and tasting. A few cracks of beer cans opening could be heard throughout the whole day as well. Chili was the main course, but there was a few more competitions to judge. Salsa, best home brewed beer, and team skit. Bring it all on! We’re hungry and in need of some laughs!

The Domestic Divas brought their famous chili, chipper competitive nature and a bunch of cinnamon rolls to much on!
The Domestic Divas brought their famous chili, chipper competitive nature, and a bunch of cinnamon rolls to munch on!
The Webster County Pheasants Forever club brought their guitar, custom chili song, and a secret ingredient for their chili. OK it's pheasant. Why spend the whole day guessing. https://www.facebook.com/WebsterCountyPheasantsForever?fref=ts
The Webster County Pheasants Forever club brought their guitar, custom chili song, and a secret ingredient for their chili. OK, it’s pheasant. Why spend the whole day guessing.
https://www.facebook.com/WebsterCountyPheasantsForever?fref=ts
And here's Pheasants Forever's masterpeice. After judging, I went back for fourths. One of the most unique and delicious chili's I've ever had. Big chunks of pheasant, tender white beans and a mixture of spices that went well with one of Iowa's greatest wild game gifts the Hawkeye State can produce.
And here’s Pheasants Forever’s masterpiece. After judging, I went back for fourths. One of the most unique and delicious chili’s that I’ve ever had. Big chunks of pheasant, tender white beans, and a mixture of spices that went well with one of Iowa’s greatest wild game gifts the Hawkeye State can produce.
Pounds on top of pounds of meat ranging from, ground pork sausage, pheasant, ground beef, and steak tips were loaded in the proud chili's on this day.
Pounds on top of pounds of meat ranging from, ground pork sausage, pheasant, ground beef, and steak tips were loaded in the proud chili’s on this day.
Fresh ingredients were chopped, diced and prepped on site and could be seen making their way in to the pot.
Fresh ingredients were chopped, diced, and prepped on site and could be seen making their way in to the pot.

The whole event was going swimmingly. Many of the huge pots of chili were made from re-purposed beer kegs with very large paddles doing the heavy work of stirring while the carefully mastered chili simmered for many hours. 2:30pm hit and so did the masses. The loyal locals came with cash in hand and raided the cook-sites of long-at-it chili chefs.

The teams were focused on serving up their heart in soul in a bowl. All with their proud trophies gleaming in the Fort Dodge sunshine.
The teams were focused on serving up their heart in soul in a bowl. All with their proud trophies gleaming in the Fort Dodge sunshine.
Yep! It got crowded. Just the way The Fort Dodge Chili Lovers Society likes it!
Yep! It got crowded. Just the way The Fort Dodge Chili Lovers Society likes it!

The judges scores were added up and the peoples choice awards were submitted by the paying chili goers. O’Goodies Irish Pub took first place from the judges and The Domestic Divas took home the Peoples choice award. Not all the teams could win first prize but from my vantage point it appeared they all managed to have a great time competing. However, there was one more battle to go. The speed eating competition.

A huge ladle of chili and a whole sleeve of crackers. Many tried but there can only be one chili slurping champion. Pictured was the most popular technique. Pre-crushed crackers and tipping the bowl back and hopping the majority of the chili makes it into your mouth.
A huge ladle of chili and a whole sleeve of crackers. Many tried but there can only be one chili slurping champion. Pictured was the most popular technique. Pre-crushed crackers and tipping the bowl back and hopping the majority of the chili makes it into your mouth.

Our first trip to Fort Dodge came this summer as we scouted RAGBRAI. We were thrilled to be invited back to show off the splendor this Iowa town exudes. The greetings were just as welcoming as they were back in June and I don’t see that ever changing. We’ll see you again, Fort Dodge! I’d keep writing, but my recliner needs some attention. I’m full, already!

Better check out our first trip to Fort Dodge………

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/05/20/scouting-ragbrai-part-4-of-8-time-to-meet-the-fort-dodge-family/

And now a few very big thank you’s………

To Justin Goodno and all the contestants and chili lovers of The Fort Dodge Chili Lovers Society. I hope we can make it next year! Hey...what do I do about these meat sweats? https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Dodge-Chili-Lovers-Society-115180271862673/timeline/
To Justin Goodno and all the contestants of The Fort Dodge Chili Lovers Society. I hope we can make it next year! Hey…what do I do about these meat sweats?
https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Dodge-Chili-Lovers-Society-115180271862673/timeline/
Once again.....Kerrie Kuiper and everyone at the Fort Dodge CVB. Thanks for providing us with a Best Western Suite! http://fortdodgecvb.com/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Dodge-Convention-and-Visitors-Bureau/208297092517525?fref=ts https://twitter.com/FortDodgeCVB
Once again…..Kerrie Kuiper and everyone at the Fort Dodge CVB. Thanks for providing us with a Best Western Suite!
http://fortdodgecvb.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Dodge-Convention-and-Visitors-Bureau/208297092517525?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/FortDodgeCVB
To the Best Western Starlite Village. Very comfortable suite and very professional staff! https://www.facebook.com/BWStarliteVillageFortDodge?fref=ts
To the Best Western Starlite Village. Very comfortable suite and very professional staff!
https://www.facebook.com/BWStarliteVillageFortDodge?fref=ts

Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin

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