Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off (Chandler, Arizona) Nov 8-10, 2013

Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off expanded to three-day event, November 8-10, at Tumbleweed Ranch

CHANDLER, Ariz. – The fourth annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off will feature a dozen teams demonstrating a bit of the 1880s Old West lifestyle while cooking up some tasty grub in a culinary competition. The festivities will be Nov. 8-10, 2013, at Chandler’s Tumbleweed Ranch, a collection of historic structures and farm equipment located within Tumbleweed Park at 2250 S. McQueen Road. Parking, admission and most activities at this family friendly festival is free; however there are fees for all food and beverages

The period dress, equipment, music, tastes and smells at this event transport guests back in time, and will give guests an up-close look at the western lifestyle of a bygone era. For three days, the authentic chuck wagon teams from Arizona, California, Nevada, and Montana will prepare their foods using cooking methods and utensils in the style of those used in 1880s cattle drives. The meals they prepare will be available for purchase on Saturday and Sunday, and the event will also feature stage entertainment, family activities and shopping opportunities.

On Friday, November 8, the ranch gates open 9 a.m., and visitors can meet the wagon team members and get an up close look at the daily life of a cowboy cook as they prepare for Saturday's main competition. The wagon teams will be giving tours to school groups and fireside demonstrations from 10 a.m. to noon. From noon to 3 p.m., the campsites will be judged for how well they present an accurate depiction of a chuck wagon camp on a trail drive in the late 1800's. When not being judged, wagon crews will answer questions and interact with the public. 

A Campfire Glow will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, when ranch visitors can enjoy each team’s roaring camp fire, roast marshmallows to make s’mores, and relax under the stars. S’more fixin’s can be purchased at the ranch, or families can bring their own marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Cowboy singer Wally Bornmann will perform throughout the evening.

On Saturday, November 9, the hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The main event is the food competition in which each wagon team will cook five courses that were typically prepared on an 1880s cattle drive: bread, beans, meat, potatoes, and dessert. A limited number of tickets for the noon meal will be available to purchase on Saturday only, beginning at 10 a.m. The meal tickets cost $12 and are expected to sell out very quickly.

From noon to 1 p.m., a panel of 15 judges will decide winners in each culinary category, as well as most authentic wagon and best overall meal. The winners will be announced at a 2:30 p.m. awards ceremony.

Headlining Saturday’s toe-tappin’ musical entertainment will be Marshal Pioneer Pepper and the Sunset Pioneers, billed as “The Greatest, Funniest, Bestest Cowboy Stage Show Around,” and The Bluegrass Pioneers. Visitors can also enjoy performances by the Arizona Gunfighters, cooking demonstrations, and tours of the historic 1917 McCroskey House. Additional entertainment includes period activities, like blacksmith demonstrations, weaving and spinning demonstrations, and hay wagon rides to the nearby Arizona Railway Museum. Several local vendors will also be selling food and beverages on Saturday.

This year’s event has been expanded to Sunday, and gates open at 9 a.m.  The day will begin with a flag ceremony at 9:30 a.m. to honor America’s veterans and featuring the Buffalo Soldiers of the Arizona Territory. At 10 a.m. a cowboy breakfast of biscuits and gravy, flapjacks and more will be served to ticket holders. Tickets are $10 and will be on sale all three days of the Cook-off.

Sunday will also feature cowboy poetry and music around the campfire, blacksmith demonstrations, hay wagon rides to the nearby Arizona Railway Museum, and cooking demonstrations by Arizona’s foremost foodie, Jan D’Atri.

Also new this year is the Junior Chuck Wagon Cook-off for adventurous and creative Chandler youth ages 10 to 15 years old. The young participants will each be assigned to one of the wagon teams, whose members will provide guidance for cooking cobbler in a Dutch oven over a wood fire. Cooking begins at noon, judging at 2 p.m., and winners announced at 3 p.m. For the complete Junior Cook-off rules and a registration form, go to There is no fee to register and the deadline to submit an entry form is October 11.

The 2013 Cook-off is presented by the Chandler Museum, Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch, Biscuitflats Chuck Wagon, and our Trail Boss sponsors Earnhardt Ford, SDB Contracting Services, SRP, and Fast Signs of Chandler.

For more information, call 480-782-2751, e-mail
or visit


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