Butler County Times Gazette
  • John Rodgers Memorial Chili Cook-off to be held Saturday

  • Event honors the late John Rodgers
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  • Those who have camped at Bluestem Point at El Dorado Lake likely had met John Rodgers at one point.
    "The history of the Bluestem Bait Shop, it was started by John Rodgers about nine years ago," said Tim McCreedy, who now owns the bait shop along with his wife, Kelley. "Prior to that he had a little shop down in one of the loops in Bluestem Point.
    "John built it and what he did was try to do the best for the people who were out there. He just did what he could for the campers and families that came out here."
    Rodgers passed away from cancer in February and Tim took over the bait shop last September.
    "We're trying to keep his name alive," Tim said. "He was out here for 25 years."
    He said kids who were 3 and 4 years old knew Rodgers and are now coming out at nearly age 30, bringing their own kids.
    "It's amazing the people that bonded and the little kids that come out there," Tim said. "We want to keep that legacy up."
    To do that, Tim and Kelly, along with Darryl Symonds are hosting the 1st Annual John Rodgers Memorial Chili Cook-Off. It will be held Saturday at the Bluestem Bait and General Store in Bluestem Point.
    Symonds said he was talking with Tim and Kelley. They were talking about how Rodgers liked chili and special events at the lake.
    "We thought this would be something good that would keep his memory going," Symonds said. "This is the first, but we are going to try to do it annually."
    People can enter the cook-off that morning. People can pay and start setting up their booths at 9 a.m. There is a $30 fee to enter the cook-off.
    Then judging will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Anyone can pay $2 to taste the chili and vote for their favorite.
    "I would definitely encourage people to come out on Saturday," Symonds said. "It's going to be an awesome time. Everybody is invited."
    Tim said they have contacted the Wagon Masters Chili Association for some tips and some of them will be coming out for the cook-off.
    "They really liked what we were doing and wanted us to turn this into a regional or district competition just before the Wichita one," Tim said. "It is an event we want to be real big."
    The winners of the cook-off will be announced after 5 p.m.
    There also will be a silent auction that day with such items as four tickets to the Kansas City Chiefs, camping items and more. The winners of the silent auction will be announced at 5:30 p.m.
    The rain out day will be Sunday.
    Page 2 of 2 - Money raised from the event will go to the State Park for whatever needs they may have.
    For more information call Tim at 316-761-7648 or Symonds at 620-262-7515.

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