Three celebrity judges will decide the best chili cookers in West Point on October 26 when the alumni of West Point High School face off in the First Annual Chili Cook off.
The cook off is being held in conjunction with the first-ever reunion of West Point High School classes of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Billed as the “Chili Bash/Monster Mash,” live entertainment will be provided by the 1960s group known as “The Torquays.” The popular dance band from the 1960s includes current West Point residents Bob and Susie Marshall and Eugene Bailey, as well as formerresidents Tinker Lautar, Gary Florreich and Scott Murrah.
The group reunited in 2005 to play for the class reunion for the West Point High School Class of ’65. Since then, they have become the favorite headliners for other classes and they even played for a class reunion in Vicksburg last year.
“Guests will have an opportunity to sample some of the best chili recipes in the South,” said Norma Atkins, one of the organizers.
Valeda Carnichael, above right, will head the team of judges which will include Robert Harrell, a 1955 graduate of West Point High School, and Richard Guthrie, a chili authority from Arkansas. Guthrie is a former Washington lobbyist who was bodyguard to George Romney, the governor of Michigan and father of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Carmichael is a veteran chili cook off judge who owns and operates Culin-Arts in downtown West Point.
“This class reunion will include multiple graduating classes in the very location where we held our Friday night dances back in the 1960s,” noted Emily Jones of Starkville who assisted Atkins in organizing the evvent. “We’ve gotten a great response from classmates including many we don’t get to see very often.”
The reunion will begin at 6:30 p.m at the old Teen Town Building on Westbrook Street. Chili contestants should arrive at 5:30 with crock pots containing their chili recipes, ready to be plugged up and judged. Guests will have an opportunity to sample the chili when judging is completed and note on the winner of “People’s Choice” award.