Chili Challenge

UCP’s Annual Heart of America Chili Challenge will be held virtually on March 7th, 2021.  This fun-filled day has packed the Civic Arena for 34 years with dedicated chili-cooking contestants and a huge public crowd.

This year due to COVID-19 we are changing things up and will have a virtual cooking competition.  Our contestants will be cooking at home or at local establishments and curbside drop-off their samples for judging.  Teams and the crowd will connect through zoom to have fun throughout the day with a virtual awards ceremony to announce the winners.

If you would like to sign up as a chili contestant, please complete the contestant entry form with payment to UCP:

After you complete and turn in your entry form, go to the site below to create your team’s fundraising page.

The People’s Choice division is the key ingredient to the success of the event.  We are developing a Peer to Peer fundraising site and each team will have a spot on the site where their friends and family can donate directly to the team, we will get you information on the site as soon as it is up and running.

The Chili Challenge is our only fund-raising event and in 34 years over $2 million has been raised to help children & adults with disabilities. With your help we continue the legacy of this amazing event.


From our 2020 Chili Challenge:


34 years and still cookin’ … Thank you for supporting the work of UCP of Northwest Missouri as we serve local children and adults with disabilities. The 34th Annual UCP Chili Challenge on March 1st, 2020, Raised $104,000 to Support UCP’s Programs! Every year the Chili Challenge brings spectators, supporters, team members and auction-goers to the Civic Arena in downtown St. Joseph, Mo.

A single admission price lets visitors sample dozens of chilis, while enjoying live music from the Licious Brothers, browsing unique vendors, bidding on silent auction items, and chatting with old and new friends. In 2020, 64 teams competed for the Chili titles and local businesses donated items for the silent and online auctions. $104,000 was generated to help provide support to UCP’s programs.


34th Annual UCP Chili Challenge Awards


Missouri State Champion:

1st Pioneer Material-Josh Weaver

2nd Nestle Purina II-Tony Walker

3rd CBIZ-Heidi Walker



1st Pioneer Material-Josh Weaver

2nd CBIZ-Heidi Walker

3rd The Boys Are Back-Blaine Higgins

4th Fletcher Contracting-James Fletcher

5th Red Hot Chili Peppers-Jeremy & Marie Kingsley



1st  Nestle Purina II-Tony Walker

2nd Biggins Sports Bar & Grill-Tracy Arthur

3rd  Downey & Bennett Chili Connection-Stacy Downey

4th  Nestle Purina III-Lisa Weil


Commercial Sponsor:

1st   Pioneer Material-Josh Weaver

2nd Nestle Purina II-Tony Walker

3rd  CBIZ-Heidi Walker

4th  Fletcher Contracting-James Fletcher

5th  Biggins Sports Bar & Grill-Tracy Arthur


All Beef – Sponsored by American Angus:

Nestle Purina-Lisa Weil


Best Decorated Booth:

1st Auto Pride Car Wash, Ty Clark

2nd Downey-Bennett Chili Connection, Stacy Downey

3rd CBIZ-Heidi Walker


Heart of America People’s Choice Awards:

1st Nestle Purina, $45,552.00

2nd Sisters Three, $11,500.00

3rd The Boys Are Back, $2,627.00

4th CBIZ, $959.27

5th American Family Insurance, $801.00

6th Gray Manufacturing, $793.55

7th Clarios, $588.99

8th Auto Pride Car Wash II, $582.25

9th McGlothlin’s, $420.00

10th Biggins Sports Bar & Grill, $395.00

11th Choices of St. Joseph, Inc., $229.00

12th Sealed Air, $190.00

13th Claudia’s Kitchen, $81.50

14th Red Hot Chili Peppers, $76.00

15th Knights of Columbus I, $75.00

The competition really heats up — not just for best chili in several categories, but for the coveted People’s Choice Award. Each year, teams recruit local donations before the Chili Challenge to earn the title of People’s Choice. The 2020 People’s Choice award winner, St. Joseph’s Nestle-Purina, brought in more than $45,000 for UCP’s programs!  In an equally remarkable effort, Sisters Three raised over $11,000 and The Boys Are Back raised over $2,600, as well as CBIZ with $950 donated to UCP. Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Chili Challenge a tremendous success! On behalf of the families served by UCP, the board, staff and volunteers, we are so grateful.