The competitive chili circuit kicked off its new season Saturday in Apple Valley.

A week after the International Chili Society's world championships in Charleston, West Virginia, the eighth annual Wannatouchama Chili Cook-Off, a fund-raiser for the Rotary Club of Apple Valley, attracted competitors from California and Nevada seeking to secure a spot in the 2010 world championships. (Full disclosure: The Victorville Daily Press was a sponsor of the event and the Hesperia Star entered a red chili in the cook-off.)

Approximately 2,600 people attended the event, held at Lions Park, according to Rotary Club chili committee chairwoman Kathie Martin. Thirty-one members of the International Chili Society served up red and green chilis and served up their salsa to the judges.

The appropriately-nicknamed Red Brecke won the red chili division, followed by Eileen Beatty, Ray Bolgar and Susie Baumberger.

Eileen Beatty took the top prize in the chile verde competition, followed by Jim Racy and her husband Jim Beatty.

Trish Crawford won the salsa division, followed by Marion Donato and Celia "Tootie" Gray.

In addition to chilis rated by the judges, attendees could vote in the People's Choice division. Hesperia Rotary member Leo Moran took the top prize, followed by Bruce Pion and David Longman, a first-time competitor.

The Victor Valley is heavy with Rotary Clubs, and the clubs have their own division in the competition as a result. The Victor Valley Sunrise Club took first place, followed by the Rotary of Apple Valley and Victorville Rotary clubs.

Local residents Terry Hough and Steve Haybert took the top two prizes in the community chili division.

Newton's Outpost won the restaurant division.

For more information about the cook-off, call (760) 403-5148.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.