For five weeks, Jerry Wessels Les Schwab Tire Center in Hamilton portions off most of its showroom on Saturdays for high school students selling chili. This is the sixth year of the chili cookoff fundraiser, which pits different high school groups from throughout Ravalli County against each other. Robert Ramsey of the tire center said that not every school participates, but those that do usually make money. For instance, between the Corvallis Senior Class with their five varieties of chili and the Hamilton High School Science Olympiad's classic chili offering, about $8,000 was raised Saturday, March 2.

Those who come to sample the hot meals pay whatever they want and Jerry Wessels also donates money to the winning team. Then, on the fifth week, the previous week's winners get one more chance to earn more money. The Saturday servings start in the late morning with most of the crowd coming during the lunch hour. And when the chili is gone ... it's gone. March 9th is the next date.

science olympiad team
Hamilton's Science Olympiad team at the March 2 Chili Cookoff. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

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