Blacksmith Chili tops teams at Cornerstone benefit

The third annual Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC) Chili Cook Off and Barn Dance brought friendly culinary competition, live entertainment, food and fun for the entire family on Saturday at the Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona.

Steve Crotz’s first place chili booth, Earl’s Famous Blacksmith Chili, sports the slogan “Hearty enough to float a horseshoe.”

Attendees sampled and voted for chili recipes, enjoyed a barn dance with live music from Hill Country, browsed and bid on silent auction items, feasted on grilled steaks and chicken, sipped draft beers, and tested their horseshoe and roping skills.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the center’s “Operation Saddle Up” program for wounded warriors and the center’s therapeutic riding programs for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.

“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity and enthusiastic support of our sponsors and attendees, our 2011 Chili Cook Off and Barn Dance generated approximately $15,000 in proceeds,” said Judy Beckett, executive director of Cornerstone. “We are delighted with the success and growth of this fundraising event over the past three years.”

Top finishers in the Chili Cook Off are:

•First Place—Earl’s Famous Blacksmith Chili. Chef Steve Crotz, a Poway resident, is a farrier who cares for Cornerstone horses. He recently was accepted to culinary school.

•Second—Team Coop (the Cooper family from Ramona)

•Third—Mike Turner’s Super Preferred Chili, Ramona

•Fourth—My Buddy Chili. Team members are active duty military

•Fifth: Back at the Ranch, Ramona

•Sixth: Tequila Tootsies, Ramona

Event sponsorers included: Marrokal Design and Remodeling, Sycuan Casino, Toby Wells Foundation, KSON-FM, Pomerado Newspapers, Ramona Sentinel, Creek Hollow Ranch, Toyota of El Cajon, SoCal Equine Sports Medicine, San Vincente Saddle Club, Lisa Seger Equine Insurance, KirE Company, Amber Ramirez Farmers Insurance Agency, the Bell-Snelling Family Trust.

Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals living with disabilities.

Located at Creek Hollow Ranch, a 350-acre state-of-the-art equestrian facility at 25201 Creek Hollow Drive, CTRC offers a true ranch environment with wildlife, oak groves and acres of trails, in a serene environment.

The center is a member of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA).

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