As we who watch "Yellowstone" are well aware, there a lot of ways to prepare chili, a favorite wintertime meal in Montana...and other states. And what ingredients are "proper" for a good bowl of chili? Well, each year at Jerry Wessels Les Schwab Tire Center in Hamilton, you can try out a variety.

Saturdays in February feature the 6th annual Chili Cook-off, which raises money for various Bitterroot Valley schools. Robert Ramsey of the tire shop along US 93 has been pleasantly surprised by how well the Saturday events have been. In fact, he estimates over $60,000 has been raised over the past years.

It's a fairly simple contest. Each school can send or or two teams, each with their own chili specialties (often from personal family cookbooks). They set up on tables at the main main lobby of the business and hand out sample bowls. Those who partake of the savory concoctions donate any amount of money to support the team. And the teams are as varied as the recipes - everything from cheerleaders to Spanish clubs. Whichever team earns the most money wins. At the end of each cook-off day, Wessels matches up to $500 for the winning team's donations. The top team each week is automatically entered into the final contest March 5th.

The first cook-off will be served up on February 5 and the other cook-offs will be on the following Saturdays during the month. KLYQ Radio and other media will be reporting the winners as the contest continues. If you have questions, call the tire shop at 406 363-3884. And who knows? Maybe your favorite chili recipe will be featured.

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