Hot To Trot Chili Cookoff

There was much to drink Saturday at the Hot To Trot Chili Cookoff, and whenever alcohol is mixed with large crowds of people, there's the possibility that something can go wrong. That's where the Sheriff's Department comes in.

Jerry A. Mason of the Nacogdoches Co. Sheriff's Department said, "we'll be walking through the entire program. We'll be walking through here looking for people that are overdrinking."

Why the big concern about drinking? In past years, there have been incidents involving alcohol related fights, specifically the reason behind not allowing any glass bottles in the chili cookoff.

Mason said, "people get to drinking too much and they use the bottle as a weapon, and we've had past incidences where officers were hurt as well as civilians."

The watch for overdrinking extends from the Expo Center to the highway, as people who have been eating chili and drinking all day make it to their cars.

"If they're stumbling too bad and their by theirself, we'll take action. If they got somebody that can drive them, we'll release them to that person," said Mason.

Before anyone brings in a cooler, they go through an inspection looking for glass bottles and checking people's licenses to make sure there is no underage drinking. With the amount of coolers in the event, it's a lot of work.

Of course, officers say the Hot To Trot Chili Cookoff can be a fun event, but their biggest concern is keeping it that way.

People bringing coolers to the Chili Cookoff were charged an extra $5 and their coolers were marked by the Sheriffs Deputies. Officers say they expect no problems as people head home from the event.