Stevens: Prizes Galore Await Grillers in Lobo Tailgate Cook-Off Challenge
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/08/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 8, 2010

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Have you ever spent the night at the Route 66 Hotel & Casino? Have you ever crashed at that fab palace West of town after chowing down at their Thunder Road Steakhouse? Well, here's your chance.

All you have to do is find the right combination of ingredients and cook them at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time and you just might win the first round of "The Lobo Football Tailgate Challenge," sponsored by the UNM athletics department, Route 66 Hotel & Casino, Albertsons and Pepsi.

Here are the secret and special ingredients for GoLobos.com's award-winning Texas Chili, the first of six exotic dishes on the contest list:

Ground beef or sirloin, brown sugar, thyme, salt, cumin, garlic, more garlic, onions, more onions, cilantro, bay leaves, oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, celery, more garlic, more onions, red chili powder, a different kind of red chili powder, a hotter kind of red chili powder, black pepper, tomatoes with green chili, bell peppers, some red onions and - if you are feeling frisky -- maybe kidney or pinto beans.

OK, that's all the help GoLobos.com is going to give you. You want to win the contest this Saturday prior to the Lobos whipping up on Texas Tech, then the rest is up to you. Of course, GoLobos.com and Head Chef Ray Birmingham won't enter their Texas chili, well, because it just wouldn't be fair.

Naturally, most Lobo grillers are in this for the thrill of the competition - and the food - but there are big prizes here, too. The weekly winner gets a room at Route 66, a $50 gift certificate to Thunder Road Steakhouse and a case of Pepsi.

The winner and the three runners-up get a Lobo Car Flag, a Lobo Car Magnet and a Lobo Tailgate Chair. The three runners-up also each get a 12-pack of Pepsi. And the first 20 entrants to the contest get two free tickets to the Lobo Olympic Sports contest of their choice.

The three runners-up also get free autographs from the mega stars at the KKOB Tailgate Pregame Show - Scott Stigler and Richard Stevens - but the runners-up don't have to accept those signatures if they don't want to.

So, here's the prize-list rundown:
1. Winner: Room at Route 66, $50 certificate to Thunder Road Steakhouse, case of Pepsi, Lobo Car Flag, Lobo Car Magnet, Lobo Tailgate Chair.
2. Three runners-up: Lobo Car Flag, Lobo Car Magnet, Lobo Tailgate Chair, 12-pack of Pepsi.
3.First 20 entries: two tickets to a Lobo Olympic Sports contest.

Hey, there just aren't any losers here. Well, maybe the judges, if Birmingham sneaks in his Six-Alarm Volcano Chili! Rumor has it the fire department has to be on the scene when Coach Ray serves this dish.

Of course, most grillers at the Lobo games take one dish at a time, don't like to look ahead, and can only worry about their own recipe. But in case you want to peek ahead, here are the future culinary cook-off challenges:

Sept. 18 vs. Utah -- hamburgers & brats
-- Oct. 2 vs. UTEP -- ribs
-- Oct. 23 vs. San Diego State -- brisket
-- Nov. 6 vs. Wyoming -- green chili stew
-- Nov. 27 vs. TCU -- chicken/turkey or any poultry.

The contest begins three hours before kickoff. That's 3 p.m. this Saturday vs. those Raiders from Lubbock. The dishes will be judged on a 100-point scale based on: 1- taste (70 points) and 2- ambience (30 points).

The taste part is obvious. If our judges can't keep it down, you might be in trouble. The ambience part relates to your tailgate area. After our judges chow and pick the top four grillers, they march over to the tailgate area to see how cool - and Lobo - it looks.

Here are a few more contest details:
1. It's free.
2. The contest begins three hours prior to kickoff.
3. A tent will be set up next to the Lobo Football Pre-Game shows at Gate 8 (Stadium Lot North). That's where you bring the food.

The Lobos, Albertsons, Route 66, Pepsi and the judges want to thank you for participating. The judges actually have been drooling for days in anticipation. It's been quite a mess.