Spicy smells wafted through the air. The crowds clamored for cups of red and green deliciousness, sometimes carrying styrofoam mini-towers of sample bowls as badges of honor, of sorts.  Thousands of people packed into the Casper Events Center for the 25th annual  American Petroleum Institute’s Chili Cook-Off  on Saturday.

45 teams competed for top honors in a special event that was dedicated to K2 Radio’s Brian Scott Gamroth who was killed last fall in a motorcycle accident. Brian was involved with the Chili Cook-off from its beginnings at the Fairgrounds Industrial Building, where it was held until it outgrew the venue.

Pictures of Brian appeared everywhere from giant screens to T-shirts, as his absence was felt for the first time in the event's history. His sons, Corey and Kyle, took to the stage to help emcee the event and in Brian's honor, the Cook-Off raised $40,000 for the Brian Scott Gamroth Community Stage at David Street Station. Organizers say they raised a total of $181,000, which go to various Casper Charities.

The API Chili Cook-Off Winners for 2017 were:

Red Chili: 1st, Cobra; 2nd SM Energy; 3rd Creed Inspection
Green Chili: 1st, Rig Runner; 2nd, Trademark Employment; 3rd Well Control
People's Choice: Homax
Best Showmanship: 1st, Industrial Screen & Maintenance; 2nd, Loenbro; 3rd Pronghorn Welding

(Author's note: My favorite was the green chili #41. They had the most wonderful smoked pork, which added a deep, rich flavor I just loved. Thought I'd toss that in. Susan)

Casper Charities that have benefited from the Chili Cook-Off include:
API Scholarship Fund
ARC of Natrona County
Brain Injury Association
CAP (Children’s Advocacy Project)
Central Wyoming Hospice
Central Wyoming Spay & Neuter Foundation
City County Firefighter Burn Fund
County Homeless Children Fund
Jason’s Friends
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Mercer Family Resource Center, Inc.
Natrona County Meals on Wheels
Renewed Hope Foundation
Safe Kids of Central Wyoming
Seton House
Shriners Transport Fund
Special Olympics Wyoming
Wyoming Food for Thought Project
WY Families for Hands and Voices

Altitude Energy Partners
Industrial Screen & Maintenance
SM Energy
SST Energy Corporation

Greiner Ford Powered by Lithia
The McMurry Foundation

K2 Radio/ Town Square Media
Casper Events Center
Casper Star Tribune
Lamar Outdoor Advertising