Chugwater Chili Cook-Off expects thousands

CHUGWATER - Join the festivities and attend the Chugwater Chili Cook-Off, Wyoming's spiciest event, held in Chugwater, located 45 miles north of Cheyenne June 19.

Chugwater has hosted this festival for 35 years, attracting thousands from Wyoming and neighboring states to taste chili, compete, listen to live tunes and have some fun. The Chili Cook-Off was canceled in 2020 for the first time in the event's history due to COVID-19.

Surrounded by chalky hill bluffs, this tiny Western town traces its unique name back to a Native American legend. The word "chug" is said to describe the noise that the buffalo made when falling from the cliffs after being chased by Native American hunters. As a result, settlers called the area "Chug Springs." Founded in 1886, the town was named Chugwater.

On June 19, the excitement kicks off at 9 a.m. at Staats Park in Chugwater and concludes after the Ranch Rodeo ends around 8 p.m. Afterward, stay in town and join the dancing at the Stampede Saloon.

Tickets are $15 per person and include chili tasting, car show, live bands, Ranch Rodeo and kids’ activities. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets can be bought at the event or online at Cash only at the venue. Parking is free. There are no mandatory COVID-19 restrictions.

Listen to live music:

This festival taps more than your taste buds with spicy chili and brewskis. Come listen and dance to country music from live bands throughout the day.

  • Walker Williams Band | 10 a.m. | Main Stage: Walker and his band cater to the dance crowds, performing selections from Walker's own CD, two of which he wrote, covers of popular country songs by other artists, country-rockers and the occasional surprise tune from a variety of music styles. If you know how to two-step, three-step, cha-cha, waltz or swing, you're gonna love 'em. He has opened for the likes of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Chris LeDoux and the list goes on and on.
  • Prairie Wildfire | Noon | Main Stage: This all-girl, bluegrass band formed in 2015, and is from Buffalo, Wyoming. The group's repertoire showcases their unique harmony in original songs along with offering a blend of bluegrass, country and gospel.
  • South Side Highway | 2 p.m. | Main Stage: Southside Highway Band is a brand-new band from Colorado and we are looking forward to having them here with us
  • Up the Creek Band | 8 p.m. | Stampede Saloon: Come dance the rest of the night away at the Stampede Saloon with Crystal Rogers and the Up the Creek Band.

Something for the whole family in 2021:

  • Chili tasting, including a People's Choice Award: The cook-off is a nationally recognized event through the Chili Appreciation Society International. It is open to anyone with a passion for chili, whether it's cooking it, tasting it or celebrating it!
  • Chugwater 5K: Chugwater School is having its first 5k race. The race starting point is located at the school and will end at the Annual Chugwater Chili Cook-Off in the park. All proceeds from the race will go directly back into the school. Starts at 8. Registration is $35 and can be done online at
  • Car show complete with trophies!
  • Kids games, crafts and an updated outdoor playground
  • Shopping at our food and product vendors
  • Adults-only beer tent
  • Ranch Rodeo: Real cowboys and cowgirls from ranches all over the area competing against each other for the cash prize at the Ranch Rodeo. New this year is bronc riding, the timed events include wild cow milking, calf branding, steer doctoring and trailer loading.


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