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Aug. 10, 2017

Junior Chuck Wagon Cook-off invites youth to show their best outdoor culinary skills
Chandler's Junior Chuck Wagon Cook-off at Tumbleweed RanchChandler’s annual Chuck Wagon Cook-off is a family-friendly culinary competition and living history event on Nov. 10-11, 2017. Now in its eighth year, the Chuck Wagon Cook-off features teams from across the West presenting the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of authentic 1880s chuck wagons. The festivities are held at Tumbleweed Ranch, near the southeast corner of Tumbleweed Park at 2250 S. McQueen Road.
Once again, this year’s event includes a special cook-off open to a few adventurous and creative 10- to 15-year-old Valley youth on Friday, Nov. 10. The Junior Chuck Wagon Cook-off pairs participants with one of the competing chuck wagon teams to receive guidance in cooking one of three period-appropriate desserts in a Dutch oven over a wood fire. No cooking experience is required to enter, and while parental cooking help is not allowed, their enthusiastic support is welcome.
“The Junior Chuck Wagon Cook-off is a way to keep some of the Old West history alive, and to encourage the love of outdoor cooking in the next generation,” says Dave McDowell, Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off event founder and member of the event committee.
During the Junior Cook-off competition, youth get a taste of American dessert history. They’ll explore the creation of historical American dishes with names like buckles, cobblers and upside down cakes. These desserts are rooted in immigrant recipes and made popular by pioneer families who were fond of the juicy fruit dishes and often served them for breakfast, or as the main course.  It was not until the late 19th century that they became primarily desserts.
Event staff will provide the necessary ingredients at the competition. The young cooks are encouraged to add their own 1880s era spices and/or sweeteners to personalize the recipe. The competition begins at 10 a.m. Nov. 10, and prizes will be awarded to the top three desserts. The winners will be announced at 1 p.m. that day. The American Chuck Wagon Association sponsors this event, in support of activities that directly involve young people in chuck wagon cooking.
Interested youth are asked to read the event rules and apply at Registration is first come, first served, there is no fee and the entry deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29. The participants selected to compete will be contacted by Oct. 21. Questions can be directed to the coordinator of the competition, Tammy Marcelja, at 602-430-0242 or at
The Eighth Annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off is presented by the Chandler Museum, Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch, and Biscuitflats Chuck Wagon. More information is available by calling 480-782-2717.