Bowling them over: Vets Club’s annual chili, chocolate cook-off still going strong in 9th year

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Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 6:00 am

Mike Lessard didn’t expect to take top prize in the Vets Club’s annual mild chili contest.

The Hillsboro man didn’t even plan on entering his culinary concoction Saturday.

He cooked up a batch of homemade chili based on a 40-year-old recipe from his brother-in-law, who worked at the Big Sioux Truck Stop in Grand Forks in the mid-1970s.

Lessard brought the chili to the Vets Club on Saturday in case the club’s annual chili, chocolate and soup contest failed to draw enough entrants.

“I wanted to have it here so they could have enough chili to feed everyone who was going to be here,” Lessard said. “I was surprised to win.

“But I was surprised to walk in and see 32 crockpots sitting out here, too.”

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