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Chili cookoff delivers fun, helps food bank
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Dakota Stevens, 15, and his father Lance, who is a little older and wiser, were crowned as individual champion for the Charity Chili Cookoff sponsored as a fundraiser for the Community Food Bank of Barton County by Sunflower Diversified Services. Lance is lead chef at the Club at StoneRidge. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

Dear old dad is proud of his son.
Lance Stevens likes to practice the fine art of chili-making when he’s not preparing delicacies as the lead chef at the Club at StoneRidge.
But he also likes to pass on tricks of the trade to his 15-year-old son Dakota, a sophomore at Great Bend High School.
Dakota has some ideas of his own, which proved to be a winning combination at Saturday’s 5th Charity Chili Cookoff sponsored as a fundraiser for the Community Food Bank of Barton County by Sunflower Diversified.
“Super Sonic Disconnected Brand-Infested Taste-Bud Slaying Chili,” was the winner. It featured a mix of prime rib, pork roast and sliced sirloin and the usual mix of seasonings.
No team was having more fun than Lance and Dakota, who wore stylish matching outfits.
“I smile a lot,” Dakota said.
Lance and Dakota agree on one thing — a good cook carries confidence that what he’s preparing is going to be delicious to eat.
“I was happy. I figured we were going to win,” Dakota said. “A good chef will cook what he believes in. People will enjoy what a cook believes in.”
Lance said, “You’ve got to have confidence. We felt fairly confident. There ain’t too much that we cook that people don’t like when we combine our talents. We try and have fun.”
Lance Stevens was happy to keep bragging rights over his cooking partner at the Club at StoneRidge — Michael Beaver, who finished runner-up.  Sonny Faulk placed third.
Lance likes when fall arrives when he starts preparing chili, soups and stews for the colder weather.
“This year was our first year together.  Michael Beaver basically challenged Dakota out to try it out,” Lance said. “My boy did good today. We would’ve heard about it had Michael won today.”
Dakota said, “Beaver called me out. I thought I’d try it out.”
Lance said they were in good spirits when drew a spot in the sunshine on the north side of the downtown square. The cooks on the south side of the block were in the shade.
“I think they were a little chilly on the other side,” Lance said.
The experienced team of Community Habilitation Services captured first place in the team competition, just ahead of NexTech and Straub’s.
The Community Habilitation Services employees from Sunflower Diversified team was composed of Lupe Carrillo, Treva Paden, Rosio Holguin, Theresa Habiger, Sherry Flemming and Hannah Laurin won first place. They also won for best decorated booth.
The winning team recipe featured hamburger, bacon and beef bullion. All of the team members tossed in one of their chili ingredients.
“It was a little bit from all of us,” Carrillo said.
Jane Isern and Gail Carpenter  captured first place for People’s Choice best chili.
The event raised $360 for the food bank and $65 and 10 toys for Toys for Tots.