Annual chili cook off, fishing tournament Saturday

ALPENA — An annual chili cook-off event at the Norway Party Store will be held Saturday in conjunction with an annual fishing tournament, according to store owners.

Owner Roland Frey said this is the fourth year the chili cooking contest has been held at the store. The contest pits 10 area cooks against one another on their chili cooking skills. Frey said the chili is taste tested and judged by three individuals, who announce a winner Saturday.

Frey said the contest was started to add an attraction to the annual fishing tournament, in its 11th year, that is held on the Thunder Bay River by the party store.

The contest winner gets an eight-pound prime rib roast from Perch’s IGA, according to Frey.

He said the cook-off was created to fill a need for the long-running fishing tournament.

“When everyone comes off the ice of course they are hungry,” he said. “They can come in and get a little cup and start sampling some of the chili.”

According to Frey, the judging for the event takes place beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the party store, and lasts until around 3 p.m. when the weigh-in for the fishing tournament begins at the store.

“After that we’ll announce the winner of the chili cook-off,” he said.

Frey said the public is welcome to attend the weigh-in and sample some of the chili.

He said he has a grand plan for the cook-off that will not take place until at least seven or eight years of how long the contest has gone on.

“I like to get 10 fresh contestants for the contest,” he said. “I want someone who has not signed up before. I do not let the winner of last year or the year before enter.”

This is because, Frey said, at some point he wants to have all the past winners in the contest to compete with each other.

There has been no lack of people who have wanted to participate in the event, Frey said.

“The day of the contest we get around 15 to 18 people who want to participate in next year’s contest,” he said. “We get their information and contact them and get it all set up for the following year.”

Frey said his favorite chili has a little bit of heat, but a nice chili flavor.

“Some guys like it spicy,” he said.

The annual tournament will take place Saturday starting at 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Frey said the public can sign up at the party store up until 10 p.m. on Friday night for $10 a person.

The money collected from the tournament will be awarded to the person who catches the biggest pike and the biggest walleye.

According to Frey, the tournament is typically held the weekend before the Super Bowl but the tournament was moved to this weekend because there is better weather.

“I usually get between 160 and 180 people, but this weekend there are a few different tournaments so I don’t know how many I will have,” he said. “I’m hoping for at least 100.”

Like in past years, the start of the tournament will be kicked off with the lighting of fireworks in honor of the late Justin Wieschowski, an Alpena youth who passed away several years ago and loved fishing in the tournament and won it several years in a row, Frey said.

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.

What: Norway Party Store Chili Cook off/Ice Fishing Tournament

When: Saturday tournament start at 7 a.m.

Where: Norway Party Store