James River Runners Annual Chili Cookoff

Each spring James River Runners hosts at their base camp at Hatton Ferry  “The James River Runners Chili Cook-Off and Brewers Challenge”!. However, due to permitting issues, this years event will be held in Scottsville in the lot adjacent to Ace Hardware. The event is sponsored by James River Runners, LLC, radio station WCYK 99.7 of Monticello Media &  Budweiser (Va Eagle Distributors) for the benefit of the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Dept.  Water Rescue. The Southern Albemarle event is the largest fund raiser for the Fire Department and Water Rescue Team each year.

This yearly event will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 11am – 6pm and and will be the unbelievable 37th anniversary of this hugely popular fund raiser!

$20 tax deductible admission for 21 years and up that plan on partaking of alcohol. $15 for 13 years and up non drinkers. $5 for children 6-12. Children 5 and under are FREE.

Over $300,000 raised for our community!

Previous funds from this charitable occasion have been used to purchase state of the art river rescue equipment and education for Swift Water Rescue training for the SVFD.


Official Entry Form

Download and print the Official Chili Cookoff Entry Form

Judging Criteria

  • Chili must have a unique name —– 1 to 10 points awarded.
  • Meat or vegetables, beans, spices,texture, and overall quality —– 1 to 10 points awarded for each category.
  • A separate category for best set up will have its own prize. Judges will be looking for a sign with the name of the chili clearly visible, a theme that runs throughout and is brought forward in the chili, is the presentation fun and eye catching and are the servers organized and able to “sell” their chili as the best?


  • Teams to consist of no more than 1 cook and 1 helper. Teams are not allowed to have anyone under their tent area other than themselves prior to 11a.m. If you bring family and friends they may not enter the event until 11:00am. They will need to pay to enter the event at 11:00 am and receive a bracelet to wear. They may not assist in the prep or cooking of the chili. This makes it fair for each team and easier for the judges to make a fair decision.
  • Some type of tarp, tent or other covering is necessary to be over your cooking setup.
  • Each team must provide it’s own work table and serving table. The fire department will provide a table to be used as a sanitation station only.
  • 10 gallons of chili a minimum – although much more appreciated(remember there will be a large hungry crowd).
  • Chili must be prepared on site.
  • Pre-soaked beans OK
  • Pre-mixed sauce OK — (not pre-cooked).
  • Meat must come from or be processed by a licensed dept. or butcher
  • Set-up limited to 12′ by 12′ area.
  • Space limited to first 30 entries.
  • Entry deadline Friday, May 18th, 2018.
  • Entry fee of $20 per team payable to Scottsville Vol Fire Dept. *New this year-This fee will be refunded to you upon your arrival to the event.
  • Teams to furnish:
    a. Non-electrical cooking apparatus (ie. coleman stove, charcoal grill, firewood, pots and utensils)
    b. Non-copper cooking pots with lids, non copper cooking utensils
    c. Table(s), chairs, etc. for preparation
    d.Hair control device, i.e. hats or nets
    e. Banners, signs, appropriate and unique setup
  • All teams must have proof of age to receive beer from the beer truck. After showing proof of age your team will receive a special stamp/bracelet to show in beer area
  • All teams must regularly wash hands (very important) to ensure a safe,sanitary enviroment

This year we have 8 breweries from across the area competing in the Brewers Challenge.

Lost Mountain Woodcrafts of Crozet Va. will be making the coveted 4 foot solid wood spoon for the best chili team and each year designs a unique tap for the winner of the Brewers Challenge.

Music is a must!  Bands will be announced as we confirm their participation so keep in touch.

Event starts at 11am and awards ceremony is at 5:00. Event closes at 6pm.

There will be a kids zone and plenty of food and drink so come support your community May 19th.


press release

2018 press release