WHEELING, W.Va. – The 23rd annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff held last Saturday, June 3, at Wheeling’s Heritage Port raised a total of $8,370 for the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.

A check presentation was held Tuesday at the City-County Building, according to a press release.

“On behalf of the Chili Cookoff Committee, I’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in making this event a success – from the administration and employees of the City of Wheeling and WesBanco Arena to the volunteers, sponsors and cooks. We could not have done it without you,” said Committee Chair Rosemary Humway-Warmuth. “We look forward to the 2024 cookoff on June 1. That’s plenty of time for folks to work on and perfect their chili recipes.”

Thirty-six International Chili Society (ICS) competitors came to Wheeling from throughout the United States, while one contestant came from Ontario, Canada. Commercial and restaurant participants from the Wheeling area included Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack, TJ’s Sports Garden/Main Street Bank, Public Market, Generations/Wheeling Nailers, WesBanco, Oglebay, The Soup Kitchen, Ruttenbucks and River City.

“We are so grateful to the City of Wheeling and everyone who was involved in putting on this wonderful event. Seeing all the individual cooks and restaurants show up to make chili for the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley was heartwarming and we cannot thank everyone enough,” said United Way Executive Director Staci Stephen. “The funds that were raised will go to the United Way’s annual campaign that serves over 20 nonprofits in the Ohio Valley. Thank you to everyone who cooked, volunteered, sponsored and planned. We are so appreciative!”

The first-place winners in the ICS categories include the following: Jason Willis of Harrisburgh, Pa, Salsa; Lynne Berkebille of Cleveland, Verde; John Harwell of Columbus, Homestyle; and Nathan Graham of Harrisburg, Pa., Traditional Red; and Dave Bartsch of St. Clairsville, Ohio, People’s Choice. All will advance to represent Wheeling in the World Chili Cookoff in Myrtle Beach this September.

Commercial Restaurant winners include the following: Blind Tasting category – River City, first place; Ruttenbucks, second place; and Oglebay, third place; People’s Choice category – Oglebay. Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack took home the awards for Best Booth Decorations and Showmanship. More than $6,000 in prize money was awarded to the successful cooks.