One year ago, I was wondering if the long-standing VYC tradition of the Great Chili Cook-off was ever going to happen again. Many of us were. We'd been told two weeks prior to the scheduled time for the event that we couldn't use the parking lot in front of the clubhouse, and with no other venue available on short notice, we were forced to cancel. Many of us felt that we were letting down the memory of Jim Ketler, the founder of the Chili Cook-off, those who had worked so hard every year to make the Cook-off one of our biggest charity events, and most importantly the charities who so desparately needed support.
Now, I wonder why I was worried at all.
Dee Cockerham stepped up and volunteered to chair the new event. Dick and Ricki Willams joined in, as well as Tom & Gracie Wroblewski, and past event chair Laurie Ailworth. Emilio Oyarzabal, the harbormaster of Nuevo Vallarta Marina, agreed not only to allow the event to be held on the Nuevo Vallarta malacon, but also to provide immeasurable assistance in many other ways – always positive and looking for a way to make it happen. Marc Murphy, the head of the Riviera Nayarit Tourist Association and his assistant Silvia Duarte, promoted the event to their enormous list of contacts, including having hundreds of posters printed at their expense and put on poles throughout the area. Lupe Dipp declared “I'll get you 10 restaurants!” and made it happen. Ibis de Teresa sent countless press announcements to local newspapers and websites, and as always, Rodolfo Trejo and his hardworking staff did what they always seem to do: go above and beyond to coordinate, mobilize sponsors, set up the site and then clean it all up after it was over. Rudy and Dee visited scores of restaurants in the area, many multiple times, to ask they participate in the event.
I always worry a little about naming people, because I know there are others who worked so hard who also need recognition. There were over 40 other volunteers - they sold tickets, staffed the bars and just helped keep things going. You know who you are. Thank you.
There were the sponsors who provided goods and services free of charge: Riviera Nayarit, Corona, Coca Cola, the Nuevo Vallarta Water Taxi, Marina Nuevo Vallarta.
Then, of course, there were the event participants. We had 32 restaurants and private individuals showing off their best. No one got paid – everything they provided was donated. From chili to sushi, baked goods to tequila tasting, the variety and quality was simply amazing. In four hours we had between 400 and 600 people attend.
Why do all this? For our charities: Families at the Dump and Toys for Tots. Our charities will split over $6500.
If anything demonstrates the family that is Vallarta Yacht Club, it is what happened Saturday. I am truly proud to be part of such an amazing organization. Thank you all for letting me be a part of it.