Thanks to all who have supported the Chili Challenge over the past 31 years and to the friends they brought with them this year. We've had hundreds that made comments, saying, "Thank you for the greatest party in the state!" Miserable George says, "Hell, maybe in the whole damn world."
See you all in 2017!!!
â€” Roscoe & Crew
How it all began...
The first chili cookoff was the result of a disagreement between Roscoe and his roommate at the time Lil Hank as to who could make the best batch of chili. This was in November of 1986. Come shootout day over 12 participants had decided they too was the best at making the red stuff, so the contest began. Well not really much of a contest since Roscoe's was already eaten along with several others before someone decided that judges were needed. The winners of that First chili cook-off was Lil Hank (HOT) and Dawn Huffman (Mild). A great time was had by all.
Biker Lifestyle Oct 1987
#2 was done in a much more professional manner with judges, a time for samples, classes and categories. Although no money was given out, the air of competition was great, with the winnersâ€™ names being forgotten by this writer; the winners will always remember winning C C #2.
#3 was almost the same. The main difference was Roscoe's new 40X80 tent for the cooks which became a Godsend when the rains rolled in. The most memorable thing about this was the Mud Drags, as one writer stated ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE.
#4 When the main sponsor felt that buying patches and a $1000.00 purse was too much expense Roscoe's MeeMaw came to the rescue by insuring the expenses would be paid. Remember, at the time beer was free so the flyer was printed up "free beer free 1,000 patches and $1,000.00 purse." More than a thousand people attended, with England, France, and Canada represented, making the Chili Challenge an international event.
The rest is history that can be read about in many biker magazines and viewed on T V shows in the U S as well as England, with the last one always being the best.
When you think of "Roscoe's Chili Challenge" you automatically think of "Roscoe", but There was another special person that was also responsible for this huge event, and without her, it would have never had taken place or happened, and she is my great grandmother, my father's grandmother, Meemaw. Annis Tomlin Hall. When my father asked me to write something about my Meemaw, I knew I could never tell or say enough to express who Meemaw really was. When you see the word "Woman," there should have been Meemaw's picture next to the word in Webster's Dictionary. She was and will always be the definition of the word to me. In her days, and even days after there wasn't a woman or man that could outwork, out fish or outfight Meemaw. So with this introduction let me tell you a little about her.
Meemaw was born June 2 1906in Yancey County, North Carolina. When Meemaw was just two months old, she and her family moved to Melvin Hill North Carolina. And at age eight, in 1914, Meemaw and her family picked up and moved to Kathleen Florida. It wasn't until October 24, 1926, remember this date, it will have a meaning later. Meemaw had her first and only biological child. Winnie Florie Crews. Everyone called her Flow. It wasn't until March 12th, 1940 William Roscoe Tomlin was born into this world. Roscoe was six months old when Meemaw took on the responsibility to legally adopt dad to make him her son. From the day he was born, I'm sure she knew that she would have her work cut out raising another child, but had no doubt that she would raise a fine young man. Meemaw had a passion for several things in life. The one passion that comes to my mind first, was fishing. Meemaw could sit for hours and hours on end, just enjoying the day and life in general, but she took her fishing serious. You didn't want to put her to the challenge of who could catch the most fish that day. She'd always bring home the largest string of fish. And, never, ever throw or skip rocks into the water while Meemaw was fishing because you were never too far away from her ten foot cane pole. She'd whack you on the head if you dared to. I can tell you this from experience.
Not only did Meemaw get her pleasure by providing for her family's needs; she also got pleasure from seeing other people having their fun too. You could always see Meemaw smiling and laughing, at all of the other Harley events she attended with my father throughout the state. Being the entrepreneur Meemaw was, she invested into the huge event and by all means, helped make it what it is today, without her investment I can guarantee that there would never have been a sixth, seventh or, any parties at all. There had been a few clouds that put rainy days, on the Chili Challenge. And Meemaw always came to the rescue. I knew Meemaw was at her happiest when I could look over and see her joking and laughing with all the nutty people that were dancing, stumbling and carrying on. I knew Meemaw wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Meemaw was a guarantee, to always attend the Chili Challenge herself and she always loved the attention she received from all the people that would stop and give her a hug and kiss, or just to sayâ€¦ "Hey Meemaw".
The 13th Chili challenge was Meemaw's last party with us.
Meemaw always wished we had built a grandstand for everyone to have the perfect view of the bands playing their music. We did build a stage but Meemaw never got the chance to see it. In honor we named the stage after her. On October 24, 1999 at 12AM in the morning, the same day and at the same hour her 1st child was born, Meemaw passed away. All who was dear to Meemaw was there with her, at her home, where she always said she wanted to be, when it was her time to go to her real home. Roscoe, Liz, and I Myself and the rest of Meemaw's family will miss her so very much, but she will always be in our hearts. My dad, and I, would like to thank Contoes, and Crossroads Magazine for giving me an opportunity to tell all the readers about Meemaw, an Icon, in the biker world. Thanks again to everyone that has ever helped with any event held by Roscoe and Meemaw. Thank you all for all of your sympathy and support, and God bless you all.
The years have passed, its been more than three years since you've left, and not a day has passed without thinking of you. I still smile, and I still cry, and not a week passed without dreams of you, you let me know you are still my Meemaw in them. I thank god for these brief gifts he's gave me of you, and I thank god for the vivid images I experience as I sleep and somehow these dreams make it easier till I see you again. I thank you for the love you gave me. I know life does not cease, it only evolves. Each day I live is a day closer to you. I love you and I miss you so very much, and I know I will see you once again. . .