The Main Event- 4 Days, and Counting

By Keith Fisher

Note: the author of this blog has not been compensated for mentioning any products or comercial enterprize.

We’ve been talking about the IDOS WCDOCO, or Worlds, as some of us call the Championship Dutch oven cook off. I hope you’re getting excited to see who wins. Remember the semi finals begin on Thursday March 18, but the finals are on Saturday.

We’ve been interviewing Ranes Carter. As the chairman of the cook off, he’s the go to guy. Shall we continue with our questions? By the way, I felt sorry for him last night, and let him go home. It was something in his pathetic eyes.

Ranes, let’s talk about the event. According to my calculations, this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of The World Championship Dutch oven cook off. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Yeah, The event was held at another location and had a different title in the past, but it has been considered the big event of the year for many years. I'm not certain at what point the cook-off moved to the ISE show, or, when the title of the event was changed to World Championship Cook-Off. There is a list of past champs in the IDOS forums starting with 1990, and there is a plaque with a list of names from 1990 until today. The names Keith and Wendy Fisher are listed as the 2005 World Champs. Those names sound familiar to me for some reason.

Yes, it’s an honor to be part of the group. As I understand it, the event started out on the USU campus, I remember when we cooked in a tent behind the Jensen Historic Farm in Wellsville, Utah. We were part of the Festival of the American West then. Just for the record, we moved to the ISE show in 2002, but what is the process, how does a cook qualify to compete in this event?

There are a couple of ways. You can win an IDOS sanctioned cook off. Or be nominated by your IDOS chapter.

In order for a cook-off to be considered an IDOS sanctioned event, the cook-off must meet a few basic requirements. First, the contestants must cook at least a main dish, a bread dish, and a dessert. Other dishes can be made, but those three are required. Second, the teams and the cook-off must follow any local or state health codes. Third, you must have fun.

A local cook-off has the freedom to vary in regards to rules and requirements. The rules could require teams to use a specific ingredient, like beef. Or the regulations might allow more than two members in a team. Or they might require that each team prepare side dish.

Many cook offs will include a "Youth" or "Novice" category and require a main dish, or bread from those categories. Each cook off director has the freedom to mix things up a bit and make the cook-off unique and fun. Many events will attempt to follow the official WCCO rules to keep the event consistent with the WCCO.

In those remote areas where cook offs take place less often, or not at all, IDOS chapters have the option to nominate a team to enter the WCCO.

And some of those chapters hold their own little cook off to determine who gets chosen, right? How many teams are scheduled to compete in the event this year? And where do they come from?

There were 23 teams that registered before the 31 December deadline. Then, a couple of teams had to be turned down because they missed the dead line. One of those 23 teams, are Terry Lewis and his daughter Tori. As last year's champions, they will compete during the Finals on Saturday.

Two of the 23 teams that registered had to back out recently for personal reasons. This leaves 20 teams for the Semi Finals. 10 of those will compete on Thursday, 18 March. The other 10 will compete on Friday, 19 March. Five teams from Thursday and five teams from Friday will move on to compete against last year's champs on Saturday. Terry is the only two-time World Champ. His first win was in back in 1996.

Most of the teams are from the surrounding states of Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Arizona (the two teams that dropped out were both from Arizona). One team is from Iowa. Another is from Louisiana, and we have two teams coming from Canada.

Wow. They are from all over. I remember a team from Japan. I think it was in 2001. It’s great that we invite the winners from last year to come back and defend their title now. Wendy and I were the first team to be able to that, you know. We didn’t have to qualify for 2006.

So, Besides the prestige of winning, What are the prizes this year?

The biggest offered prize is cash. The first place team will earn $2,500, second place is $1,000, third place is $750, fourth is $500, and fifth is $250. The remaining six finalist will get $100 each. Lodge and Camp Chef will both offer prizes. But the biggest prize of all is the title of World Champ. This year, it will be a difficult title to earn and will be well deserved. This will not be an easy competition.

Yeah, it’s getting harder each year. Part of me is glad I’m not competing. I’m thrilled, though, to see prizes for anything lower than third place. That’s how it used to be, but there was a time when that didn’t happen.

Once again we ran out of time, but as a spectator you might me wondering, “What’s in it for me?” Come back tomorrow and we’ll ask Ranes.

What’s that? Yes, Ranes, One more day. Don’t worry I’ll make it worth your while. After all, what would the police say if I told them . . .?

See you tomorrow folks.

1 comment:

L.T. Elliot said...

I had no idea competitors came from so far away!