Terlingua Dreams

Friday, October 21, 2016

Terlingua Chili Cook-off memories

For those that have been reading me for a while, you know how much it means to me to be able to make my annual pilgrimage to Terlingua, Texas to attend the Chili Cook-off.  This year is especially meaningful as it will mark 20 years of attendance.

Though I can not forget that even though I do not count it...I did attend this event for a couple of hours when I was a Freshman student at Sul Ross State University (but no...I am not going to tell you which year that was) !!!

My high school best friend (who was also my roommate) and I used to hang out with fellow students from Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Fort Stockton and Pecos, Texas.  Everyone pitched in a quarter or at the most fifty cents (yes I know, I am dating myself) and we would go riding around on the weekends to nearby towns.

Our favorite was going to Marfa, Texas to the only drive-in within miles or also in Marfa sitting around waiting for the Marfa lights to show their elusive selves...can truthfully say, I never saw a light, not even a flicker!

One day out of the blue Danny (who was the owner of this old beaten up vehicle with bald tires) asked if we wanted to go to Terlingua.  Not knowing what the heck that was, we said yes...why not? Back in the day if I drank one beer, I got a buzz.  If I drank two beers, I was drunk.  If I had three beers...I would puke!

Besides pitching in for gasoline, we also pitched in for beer.  At the time they only sold six packs and the favorite beer was Schlitz...do they even make it now?  It is no wonder I have very vague memories of that first time and even less so of how we got into the event.  We were college students and none of us worked or had money to spare.

Then there was only one chili cook-off unlike today that there are two separate events.  It was also held at a different location.  All I remember was sand dunes and two port-a-potties.

Funny how fast time seems to have gone by...and though my friends always tease me...at least since 1996, I have my spiral notebooks that have documented my trips and kept my memories "fresh".

Good night.  May you all have Terlingua Dreams.


  1. I remember going to the gas station & getting 50 cents worth of regular... this was before the change in '73

    1. My high school best friend and I would drive to the service station and the attendant would give us fifty cents worth and would even check the oil for us...the good old days!

  2. You all are so young, I remember gas selling for $0.28 a gallon. But by the time I was able to afford my dream car (a 1957 Chevy Convertible), gas had started to go up in price.

    1. I honestly do not remember the price per gallon that gasoline sold for then. We just pulled our resources between the five or six of us to entertain ourselves during the weekends.

      Alpine is a quite town now, you can imagine how quiet and boring it was when I was there. That is why after three semesters I transferred elsewhere.

      Funny how life goes full circle and I now crave that peace and quiet that I ran away from so many years ago.

    2. Like Diz, I remember when gasoline costs under 30 cents a gallon, and during one gas war you could even buy it for 25cents a gallon!

      It's nice to have something to look forward to such as the Chili Cook-Off, and enjoy so much.

    3. The Chili Cook-off is an either...you love it or hate it event. The desert and its extreme temperatures are not appealing to the masses. With that said...every year there are more and more people in attendance.

      I love going early and watching the event grow. I love being there when it is in full party mode. Then I get sad when everyone leaves but rejoice in once again enjoying the solitude and peace the desert affords me so I can go back to the default world with my inner batteries recharged.

      I can unequivocally say Terlingua is the best thing that has ever happened to me.


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