Like our own Chili Cookoff downtown each year, in Texas they put on a mammoth Cookoff about the time the Rodeo comes to town. It's so big that a major portion of the Astrodome parking lot is needed for it.

At a recent Cookoff  there a visitor from the East named Frank was asked fill in as a judge when the regular judge called in sick. Frank tells about it:

"I happened to be at the judges' table asking for directions to the Budweiser truck when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and they offered me free beer during the tasting, so I accepted."

Here are the scorecards from the event:

Chili No. 1, Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili.

Judge 1 - A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge 2 - Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

Frank: What is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Chili No. 2, Arthur's Afterburner Chili.

Judge 1 - Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge 2 - Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Frank - Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Chili No. 3, Fred's Famous Burn-Down-the-Barn Chili.

Judge 1 - Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.

Judge 2 - A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.

Frank - Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting snockered from all of the beer.

Chili No. 4, Bubba's Black Magic.

Judge 1 - Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge 2 - Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Frank - I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the 300-pound barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. She's beginning to look as hot as this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Chili 5, Linda's Legal Lip Remover.

Judge 1 - Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge 2 - Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Frank - My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I no longer can focus my eyes. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really annoys me that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

Chili 6, Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili.

Judge 1 - A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge 2 - Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Frank. He appears to be in a bit of distress.

Frank - You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth.  At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing. It's too painful. If I do need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Chili 7, Tommy's Toenail Curling Chili.

Judge 1 - The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

Judge 2 - This final entry is a good, balance chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Frank passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor dude, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili.