FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 25, 2012) -- Cooler weather has reached Fort Rucker, and people can warm up with a hot cup of chili or get their blood pumping with the Chili 5K during the Army Aviation Center Chapter's 21st Annual Chili 5K and Cook-off in the field between 4th Street and Division Road Nov. 3.

The 5K start is at 9 a.m., the 1-mile fun run is at 10 a.m. and the chili tasting begins at 10:30 a.m. with music and chili booth displays, said CW3 Justin Bowser, instructor pilot and Aviation safety officer at C Troop, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment.

"This event brings our community together, so for anyone to come out to taste the chili or participate in the events is great," he said.

The Family-friendly event promotes physical wellbeing as well as provides an avenue for Families to come together and have a good time.

"This is a great way for Families to relax, either with the run, the fun run or the cook-off. Parents get to talk and enjoy adult conversation and kids can play," said Bowser.

The first event is the 5K, which beings at the corner of 4th Street and 5th Avenue.

"Runners may register between 6 and 8:30 a.m., but we suggest runners register early at Registration is $15 per person until the day of the race, the fee goes to $20 Nov. 3 and runners are not guaranteed a shirt if they register the day of. Teams of up to eight can register for $100," said Bowser.

There will be trophies for overall fastest male and female, overall fastest male and female over 40, and the fastest team. Medals will be presented to the top three fastest males and females in each age group. The fun run will immediately follow the 5K.

"The runs promote fitness, and it is a healthy and fun way to be able to eat as much chili with as little guilt as possible," said Bowser, joking that runners could pile on the cheese and sour cream to their chili knowing that they did their part promoting healthy living.

The chili-cook off begins at 8 a.m. when the chili begins cooking, but the tasting for the public does not begin until 10:30 a.m. The official ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with awards going to the three best tasting chilies, best in show, people's choice and the worst chili.

Attendees can buy tickets, $1 per ticket or $5 for six tickets. Each ticket can be exchanged for one cup or sample of chili. Attendees can then vote on their favorite chili, which will be the people's choice category.

"The Best in Show category is the theme and costume portion of the competition," said Bowser. "Teams can choose to decorate their booths and wear costumes according to their theme. This category is also judged on how the teams interact with Soldiers, Families and all attendees of the cook-off."

Teams must register by Oct. 31 and the suggested amount of chili each team makes is 15 gallons. Teams must have at least two people, but can have as many members as they wish, according to Bowser.

"If teams want helpers to stand in front of the booth to encourage people to come taste and vote for their chili, that is perfectly acceptable," he said.

Bowser encourages everyone from the local communities to form teams.

"Forming a team can be great fun. It's a chance for people to compete in a laid back atmosphere. Having a team can help with a unit's team development or with a business' camaraderie. It's also a great way for friends or neighbors to get out of the house and help with a great cause, and have fun while doing it," he said.

Bowser said that any chili recipe is welcome; there are no limitations on the ingredients or condiments that enhance the chili.

"It is encouraged for teams to decorate their chili and offer things like sour cream, crackers and cheese to the tasters. Judges are looking at the appearance of the chili as well as taste, so condiments help with both those categories," he said.

To ensure a fair competition, judges will not know which team's chili they will be tasting.

"The chili that is in the No. 1 spot is not booth No. 1. So even though the judges will be writing down, say chili No. 4 is the best, that chili will not be booth No. 4's," said Bowser.

Pets are not allowed at this year's cook-off, but Bowser said plenty of entertainment will be offered.

"We will have a band, Triple Threat, performing thought the day. We will also have two inflatables, an old antique fire truck accompanied by Sparky the fire dog, an obstacle course and a media trailer will be set up with Xboxes and Play Station 3s," he said.

The Salute to Military Families will also be held in conjunction with the 21st annual Chili Cook Off and 5K Run.

"Salute to Military Families is the kick-off event for the tribute to Month of the Military Family," said Tom Jenkins, Army Community Service information and referral program manager.

"As part of the activities, a coloring and essay contest was held. The commanding general and garrison commander will present all contestants with a certificate of appreciation and gift cards/coupons from Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation businesses at the cook-off," said Jenkins.

"In addition," he continued, "the garrison had the opportunity to nominate Families that exemplify Families of Excellence and the commanding general and garrison commander will present all nominees with a certificate of appreciation and gift cards/coupons."

Following the presentation of certificates, a resigning of the Army Family Covenant will convene, according to Jenkins. There will also be DFMWR and ACS information tables and displays located at the festival.

To register for either the cook-off or the 5K, visit