Lenexa family takes home Grand Champion honors at 2017 Lenexa Chili Challenge

The Beagles picked up their prize banner Monday.
The Beagles picked up their prize banner Monday.

That Beagle family. They think they’re the popes of Chilitown!

And with good reason! On Saturday, the Beagles’ “Great Bowls of Fire” team won the Grand Champion prize at the 2017 Lenexa Chili Challenge. The Beagles, who reside in Lenexa, beat out 74 other teams who submitted entries in all four Chili Challenge categories to take the competition’s top honor.

Christen and Brad Beagle have been competing in the challenge for four years now.

“My husband used to compete in the Lenexa barbeque, but didn’t really have time for that after we got married,” she said. “But we used to live by Old Town Lenexa, and we thought this could be a fun thing to do instead.”

In previous years, the Beagles had entered a category or two, but not all four — traditional chili (just meat and spice, no beans); homestyle chili (any ingredients you want); hot wings; and salsa. This year, they decided to go all out, working with their two daughters to put together entries for each category. And it paid off.

Their salsa took third place overall, Brad’s wings took ninth place in that category, and their homestyle chili came in at 31 out of nearly 200 entries. Combined with an 84th place finish in the traditional chili category, the team had the best score of any entrant.

Unfortunately, the Beagles didn’t get to bask in the adulation of their chili-stirring peers on Saturday, as organizers had to cancel the traditional awards ceremony on account of the storms moving into the area.

Still, spirits were high in the Beagle household.

“I decided to just check online around 4 [p.m.], and it said we were the champions,” Christen said. “We were screaming and celebrating, and I called my mom to tell her.”

But the celebrating wasn’t over. As they were taking in the grand championship win, they checked the standings in the kid’s category, which has young ones bake up plates of cornbread. Kierra, Christen’s daughter, had taken first prize.

“We started celebrating all over again,” Christen said.

Full results from the challenge are below:

Grand Champion

1. First Place: Great Bowls of Fire – Christen Dykmann Beagle (Olathe, KS)
2. Second Place: Persimmon Hillbillies – Brad Delay (Olathe, KS)
3. Third Place: Cedar Creek Four – Heath Hoffner (Shawnee, KS)

Traditional Chili Division

1. First Place: Burnin’ the Backside – Jason Lamons (Shawnee, KS)
2. Second Place: Xeno Chili – Tom Haymaker (Stilwell, KS)
3. Third Place: Low Budget – Robert Belshe (Overland Park, KS)

Home Style Chili Division

1. First Place: WildHawk Chili – Andy Mathes (Lenexa, KS)
2. Second Place: Chili Gone Wild – Jeff Gilliland (Leavenworth, KS)
3. Third Place: T’s Country Kitchen – Ted Moore (Lane, KS)

Hot Wings Division

1. First Place: Team El Nino – Noreen Schwein (Lenexa, KS)
2. Second Place: CD Chili – Chris DeVader (Jackson, MI)
3. Third Place: Jenny O’Shoot That’s Good Chili – Jenny Osipik (Olathe, KS)

Salsa Division

1. First Place: She Must Be Chili – Justin Sinkler (Lenexa, KS)
2. Second Place: Chilin with Chili – Trade Hileman (Grandview, MO)
3. Third Place: Great Bowls of Fire – Christen Dykmann Beagle (Olathe, KS)

Kids Kornbread Contest

1. First Place: Kierra Dykmann
2. Second Place: Katelyn Novack
3. Third Place: Isabel Warner

JDRF Fundraising Award

1. First Place: Mo Dangie Hillbilly Chili I
2. Second Place: Wrong Side of the Tracks
3. Third Place: Hot Roots