Expectations were high for Drew Lock’s father heading into the Missouri football parents’ fifth-annual chili cook-off. Andy Lock placed second at last year’s contest, and he was the favorite entering Saturday’s competition. Even Missouri’s starting quarterback talked up his dad’s chili.
“He thinks the scoring was rigged last year,” Drew Lock said Tuesday. “My dad will bring a good chili this week. Without a doubt.”
But when the competition started at 1 p.m. Saturday, Andy Lock’s chili was a no-show. He was busy the week leading up to the Tennessee game, and the fresh pain of last year’s loss made cooking chili tough.
“Losing sucks,” Andy Lock said. “I felt like I had the best chili last year. I’m not going to lie to you.”
Even without Lock’s highly anticipated chili, the Missouri parents were fully invested in the contest. John Roland bragged about his 2016 victory, and Tucker McCann’s mom joked about bribing the judges. Photographs of past winners sat next to pots of chili on a long table.
The 2017 cook-off had eight submissions: Finis Stribling III, Cathy Beisel and two submissions each from the Roland, McCann and Abeln families. Judges graded the chili based on aroma, texture, color, taste and aftertaste. Most parents brought standard chili, but Roland and Julie Abeln both brought white chili.
“This is history in the making,” Abeln said before the event.
After 30 minutes of deliberating, the judges reached a conclusion. Finis Stribling III, father of defensive back Finis Stribling IV, came out on top.
Stribling was a first-year competitor at the parents’ tailgate, but he had experience at Boy Scout cook-offs in the past. His chili was based around ground beef, and he made sure to sauté his onions and bell peppers with spices.
“I don’t like it as thick, so it kind of had a medium-type texture to it,” Stribling said. “I had my ground beef mixed up really well.”
After Stribling won, Abeln placed a crown on his head. He smiled for pictures and was greeted with a round of applause. Beisel finished in second place, and Abeln’s white chili finished third.
As event organizer, Abeln sent out a note in the parents’ weekly email announcing the competition. She made sure there were power cords and generators for cooking, and she brought Tums for the after-effects.
“It’s a great way for everyone to come together and celebrate the experience of going down this road together,” she said. “It’s a unique group, and it’s a lot of fun just to come here and to be ourselves and have fun away from the football and the pressures of the football.”
But the pressure was high on the chefs, and it proved too great for Andy Lock to handle. The quarterback’s father promised to make his chili next fall, though.
“I’m calling my shot 12 months out,” he said. “I’m going to win it next year.”
Editor’s note: Missourian reporters Peter Baugh and Anne Rogers served on the judging panel for the annual Missouri parents’ football tailgate. Baugh voted for Abeln’s chili, and Rogers voted for Beisel.
Supervising editors are Ron Davis and Pete Bland: firstname.lastname@example.org, 882-5729.