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Sep 7, 2010 09:14 AM

Cheating at the Chili Cook Off in Terlingua Texas

Does anyone remember the contestant at Terlingua awhile back who went from booth to booth and got small portions of all the chilis then combined them, entered them AND WON THE COMPETITION?

I can't for the life of me find the article about the crook but I know there's bound to be an expert who remembers the dustup.


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  1. Sounds almost too crazy to be true.
    I would love to read an article about it to see if it really happened.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MattInNJ

      It happened and received lots of media attention out here in Texas. Maybe the big bosses of Terlingua sprinkled some sort of magic chili powder on the Google and made the whole thing go away.

      I dug and dug and couldn't find a word about it.


      Don Eastep, 2003

      Can't find any articles from mainstream media. There was a link on that is now dead.

      9 Replies
      1. re: huaqiao

        Much obliged to you. I searched high and low for that information, even used the wayback machine to no avail.

        1. re: huaqiao

          LOL! You can't make this stuff up!

          1. re: givemecarbs

            The business on how Don collected samples does not ring true. Do they give out samples prior to turning in the cup for judging?

            However, I have found references to Larry Eastep and chili. He is a ' ICS Grand Master Cook', and has organized cookoffs in Illinois.

          2. re: huaqiao

            The book account:
            Texas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff By John Kelso
            I found it by doing a search on 'Bon Eastep'

            1. re: paulj

              There are 2 competitions in Nov. One sponsored by the CASI , Chili Appreciation Society International, , and one that bills itself as the 'original', Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert - Wick Fowler Championship Chili Cookoff

              The CASI appears to be the more serious one, by invitation only. The original seems at little looser. That's one where this 'cheating' occurred.

              1. re: paulj

                Considering that the whole thing was started by H.Allen Smith as a fake fight between himself and his Texas pals (and to promote Wick Fowler's mix) a touch of Honest Graft is entirely in the tradition, it seems to me.

                1. re: paulj

                  Cheatin' in NASCAR and chili seems to be a winkable offense. Cheatin' in golf and Augusta pimento cheese sandwiches is career ending.
                  I would like to have tried the cheatin' chili, I bet it was good.

                  1. re: Veggo


                    Cheatin in...chili might be a winkable offense in the not-Texas rest of the world but out here we take our chili right serious.

                    I doubt Don Eastep has made his way back to the great state [after all guards have been posted on the borders to keep his varmint hide out]-and if he did he'd be drygulched before he could could finish half a big gulp from 7-11.

                    More chili news from Texas here:


                    1. re: Veggo

                      how about cheatin' in ribs or brisket? :)

              2. Oh this reminds me of the smart alecks who put red dye into white wine and passed it off as red wine in a tasting. It got high marks. Maybe chili judges are as knowledgeable as wine judges.