Volunteers & Judges


We need Judges for the cookoff.  In excess of 150 over two days actually! Crazy, I know. For those interested in being a judge:

Judges will be hosted by Peticolas Brewing Company.

There are two divisions to the Cookoff and the following are the times for the Judges’ Meetings:

April 7th & April 8th

CASI/Tolbert Chili-12:45

ICS Salsa-11:45
ICS Verde Chili-12:45
ICS Red Chili-1:45 – Help Judge the biggest payout for Chili in the State of Texas!

Judge’s & VIP Tickets Bonus Donation 

Special Olympics Texas
Be one of the first 100 to make a donation of any size, and sign up to be a judge and we will make a donation of $50 to Special Olympics Texas!

Cattle Baron’s Ball, Housing Crisis Center and Juliette Fowler Communities
Be one of the first 50 to make a donation of any size, and sign up to be a judge and in addition to matching your donation dollar for dollar, we will make an additional donation of $50 to the participating charity of your choice. The first 100 VIP Tickets will earn a $100 donation to the Charity of their choice. 

Judge’s Bonus Donation list is prioritized by donation date and time on this site. The first to sign up & donate online and then check in at any time to judge the day of the event will qualify for the Judge’s Bonus Donation. If we have too many judges for a particular event, it is possible that not all will be able to judge, but the bonus donation will still be made as long as the volunteer signs in to judge the day of the event. If a judge does not show up the day of the event, the bonus donation will go to the charity of the next judge on the list.  Chili Cookoff contestants and/or cash prize winners are not eligible to judge.


A note from Chili John for ICS Judges

“Hey ICS Chili Judge — CONGRATULATIONS! You are about to enter the elite group of men and women who have become judges at a state level International Chili Society Chili Cook-Off, and survived.

 You can judge ICS salsa, ICS verde (green) chili, and ICS red chili. I invite you to do all three, but if you can only do one or two, that is OK.

 We will have a judges’ meeting 15 minutes before turn-in for each category: Salsa judging meeting – 11:45 a.m., Green Chili judging meeting – 12:45 p.m., Red Chili judging meeting – 1:45 p.m.

 Please check in at the ICS registration table when you arrive at the cook-off site at SMU.

 Now, a few suggestions from chief judge ChiliJohn Fenrich. I have been organizing district, state and regional ICS chili cook-offs for some 40 years in 6 different states, and my winners have consistently done very well at the ICS World Championship Chili Cook-Off.

  • The ICS cooks are coming from all over the U.S., not just Texas. They are serious about qualifying to compete at the World Cook-Off and have invested a lot of time and $$$$$ to get to Texas to compete.
  • So, I ask that you follow my instructions. 1. Once we get the judging sheets, pencils in hand and go to the table where the ICS Judging Cups are placed, there is no talking or communicating. 2. The first time around the table it is best to just mark each bowl number on the judging sheet with a + or – indicating which ones you want to revisit. 3. We go counter-clockwise around the table. You can start anywhere on the table, just be sure you know which bowl number you are starting at. 4. Only one spoon per taste, even if you are going to retaste the same chili. ALWAYS toss your spoon in the box under the table and take a new spoon. 5. Again, no talking, no grimacing, no spitting… you get the picture. 6. Take your time to be sure what your top 3 choices are, but don’t dwaddle, We need to clear the tables and get ready for the next judging. 7. Keep your comments that you write down “nice”…the cooks will be reading your comments and they don’t need to be told that what they turned in tasted like “poop” or something worse. Stick to “too salty,” “not enough heat”, “too much cumin”, etc. 8. I always suggest you write your winners down somewhere so you can see if you picked the over-all winners when the announcement comes at the end of the cook-off, I always give the table number of the winners.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANT —- HAVE FUN! If you have any questions when the judging begins, I will be there to answer them.
  • I have seen the names of some of those who will be competing and you will be judging some of the best chili ever cooked, ever, anywhere…so come prepared to be challenged.

If you have any questions before the cook-off, do not hesitate to contact me at email@penderys.com .

Looking forward to meeting you and having a successful and fun cook-off…what we want most is for our winners to become the 2018 ICS World Champions.

 Chiliheads forever,

 ChiliJohn Fenrich”


An event like the Pendery’s Charity Chili Cook-Off could never happen without a LOT of volunteers. Everyone that works with us is a volunteer, there are no paid positions. We all volunteer to help make our community a better place. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from volunteering to make an event like this a reality. You will make new friends and meet new people, share your knowledge, do something new and different and most of all have a lot of fun!


There are a lot of different tasks that need to be done. Some are small and some are large. However much time you have, we appreciate it. If you have just a day to give that is great and if you have more time to devote to a larger project, that of course is great too. We have several areas that can always use more help. Some of the areas that you can volunteer for are: planning, promotional / marketing, set up, clean up, material sourcing, runners, registration table, logistics and ground planning, judging and more!