The preservation of western cultural and the American Cowboy. Sharing the history of the early trail drives, the Chuck Wagon and those who pioneered untamed land. The content is for educational and entertainment purposes. Cowboys and Chuck Wagon Cooking reviews cooking techniques, products and western gear which today is part of western life style. We hope you will enjoy your visit and look forward to comments, recipes and shared heritage. Thank you for your visit. Hope you follow us along the trail of news, stories and the Cowboy way.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chandler, Arizona Chuckwagon Cook-Off

The Chandler Museum hosted the first annual Chuck-Wagon Cook Off at the Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona.  This inaugural  event featured western entertainment with live music along with many frontier events. Kids had the opportunity to ride horses, hay rides, learn about candle making or weaving as the chuck wagons from across the nation came to competed in this cowboy cooking event.

Danny Noland, owner of the "BUZZARDS CIRCLE N" Chuck wagon arrived in style with his fully enclosed rig that protects his gear as good as if this was NASCAR racing. While many chuck wagons are hauled across the nation on a flat bed open trailer when not stored in a barn, Danny has good reason to have everything always ready to go. His competitors drool as he carefully backs his rig cab and the 30 foot enclosed trailer into position to unload the prestige Chuck Wagon and gear. The  equipment consist of fine museum quality furnishings like harnesses, bedrolls and saddles that makes his camp appear as authentic and complete as those camps  during the cattle drives of the 1866-1885 period.

Danny like the other competitors begin setting up camp with crew member Mark Wilkins assisting the "Buzzards Circle N Chuck Wagon" crew for the week end event. Mark helps Danny as they pull the extensive gear out raising tents, awnings and stack fire wood before trenching the pits where these folks will take the challenge for over-all first place cooking.

Mark Wilkins has provide several recipes at Cowboys and Chuck Wagon Cooking along with recently taking his dutch oven skills to teaching classes. Class are approximately Six hours long where all Dutch Ovens, supplies and food is provided. He trains others in the Wittmann, AZ area on the how to effectively use cast iron and dutch oven. Cost for the class is $45 per person, or $80 per couple. More information can be obtained sending an email to Mark.

Judging teams follow the guide lines of the American Chuck Wagon Association. Inspecting everything from who has the best looking wagon and camp setting to the savoring taste of dutch oven and cast iron cooking. The food categories are meat, beans, bread, potatoes, and dessert. Each prepared in the 1866-1880's fashion of the days on the cattle drive.

65 year old, Dave McDowell is a resident veteran of Chandler who helped organize this event. He also owns the Biscuit-flats Chuck Wagon where he is joined by his team members Kris Kircher and Buck Hart in hopes of this years bagging rights. "It's all in fun" states Dave who over the past decade has competed in several competitions each year.  He further commented, "With just a few local competitions - most cowboy cook-offs in the Valley are side acts in larger festivals like Scottsdale - Festival of the West and Mesa's Old West Days Festival - and the closest out-of-state competition in is held in New Mexico. I wanted to start an all-chuck wagon festival closer to home."

Sponsors like Schnepf - Farms   who began business 68 years ago in agriculture turn entertainment farming 15 years ago help make events like the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off a success. Other sponsors included Fast Signs of Chandler,  Superstition Farm,  Shamrock Farms, Arizona Beef Council and Serrano's Mexican Restaurants.

By days end, the judging was complete after feeding the crowds who came out to the cooking event.  Best Wagon went to Danny and Sheri Noland with Buzzard Circle N chuck wagon while Best Overall all and Grand Champion of the Chandler event was the Rockin R R Chuck Wagon crew owned and operated by Susan and Russ Richins featured in American Cowboy November 2010 America Cowboy.

"Well the good news, we had a great cooking day today" said Susan.  Our good friends  Don and Sally Eymann, helped us all day and we did super.  We took First in Bread, Meat Dish, and Potatoes, Second in Dessert and Third in Beans, winning First Overall."

"We spent 4 hours loading up the Rockin RR wagon and loaded our truck to come home. We were the last to be ready to leave. Once loaded, we got into the truck to find we had a dead battery.  I love AAA.  The guy was there in 1/2 hour and got us on our way.  So, while we had a long day, it was really a lot of fun."

"They also had a TV film crew there filming  ''"Come Out and Play Chandler''".  They interviewed me and I sure hope I didn't make an idiot out of myself.  It will be on the Chandler Arizona's local channel in January.  They said they stream it on the internet and You Tube it, so when I hear it's available I'll let you all know. After getting skunked in New Mexico at the Ruidoso Cook-off, we can cover our lost and get ready for the Livestock Show Chuckwagon Cook off in December," stated Susan.

Congratulations to all those who participated along with the City of Chandler, Arizona for hosting this cook off. Chuck wagons crews drive the distance helping support the community and the heritage of the historic American West.

Judging Results:


1st:    Rockin RR (Russ & Susan Richins)
2nd:   Buzzard Circle 'N (Danny & Sheri Noland)
3rd:   Cannon Family (Bopper & Robin Cannon)


1st:    Rockin RR (Russ & Susan Richins)
2nd:   Cannon Family (Bopper & Robin Cannon)
3rd:   Gummers Camp (Randy Hawkins & John Sullivan)


1st:    Buzzard Circle 'N (Danny & Sheri Noland)
2nd:  Cannon Family (Bopper & Robin Cannon)
3rd:   Rockin RR (Russ & Susan Richins)


1st:   Rockin RR (Russ & Susan Richins)
2nd:  Buzzard Circle 'N (Danny & Sheri Noland)
3rd:   Cannon Family (Bopper & Robin Cannon)


1st:   Cannon Family (Bopper & Robin Cannon)
2nd:  Rockin RR (Russ & Susan Richins)
3rd:  Buzzard Circle 'N (Danny & Sheri Noland)

Best Wagon:   BUZZARD CIRCLE N Chuck Wagon

Best Over-all:  ROCKIN  RR Chuck Wagon
Rockin RR Chuck Wagon Crew

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