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Chili Cheater - 2003 Championship Chili Cook-Off

TERLINGUA, Texas (JP) - Don Eastep, an Illinois retiree, entered the superbowl of Chili Cook-Offs - the 37th annual Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cook-Off on November 1, 2003. Don's brother Terry (a longtime Springfield chili cook who had won numerous nationwide competitions), had dropped out of the contest at the last minute, so Don posed as his brother and took his place.

But Don didn't feel like cooking his own pot of 'homemade red', so he walked around from booth to booth and took one spoonful of chili from each of the other 80 contestants. Then he mixed those eighty spoonfuls together in a bowl and entered that as his own chili entry.

Much to his surprise, he won first place!

Eastep's temporary prize was a 50-pound limestone trophy, a Texas flag, and a New Mexican-crafted silver necklace engraved with the name of the contest. Temporary? Minutes after receiving the prize, veteran chiliheads confronted Eastep as to the authenticity of his concoction, to which Eastep admitted the error of his ways. He was defrocked for pulling a fast one, and the prize was then awarded to the real winner - a Dallas dentist.

This wasn't the first time funny business has occurred at the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off - five years earlier,  somebody won the bean cook-off with - say it isn't so - canned beans!

Who says that Cheaters can't at least Temporarily Prosper!