"Parking lot 6 am. Be there" This is not an invitation to fight but rather a cherished phrase I have come to relish. To me, these words let me know I am going to be doing something awesome that day; inevitably the earlier the start time the more awesome the day proves to be. On this day Oct 5, 2013 it was no exception as the Voormi crew traveled to Durango, Colorado to participate in the 3rd annual Chili Chase 5K & Chili Cook Off event hosted by Backcountry Experience. With the sky dark and the air frigid cold, I was grateful for the warmth my High-E hoodie provided as we loaded up the trailer with the basicgear for a cook off....Voormi product, a tent and a rather beefy, large 500lb cast iron, hanging cauldron. Cooking chili in a crock pot will do the job but for our signature 4 Shooter Elk Chili, it seemed appropriate that we cook it up in this oversized cauldron in the same fashion we would under a starry night on the Voormi compound. The drive from Pagosa to Durango is always pleasant and this morning was no exception as we watched the sun gradually work it's way into position for its day shift. Arriving early we were greeted warmly by the faces of Backcountry Experience, a premiere outdoor shop in Durango. Ben the shop owner and event creator was in prime form with a childlike grin on his face from sun up to the time we left him as he wrapped up the final pieces of the event; he was in his element with the combination of home-cooked food and outdoor exercise. He explained this was his passion; to bring together the community with food and adventure. Once we tasted his chili creation we knew it must be true that he had been working and tweaking his formula for months! With Backcountry Experience being the backbone of his passion, he has blended a perfection of ingredients to provide a fantastic resource to the local outdoor enthusiasts. Another employee of the shop was Ken who seemed to be enjoying himself as much as Ben as he organized and conducted the set-up with the skill and precision of a seasoned maestro. Seeing him with his dad working the event reminded us of how important family and community is to Voormi and we joyfully looked forward to future events of the 2013/2014 season.

This year's event had more than double the previous year's total chili entries; no doubt rumors of the positive energy exemplified by Ben and his employees fueled the overwhelming success of this year's event. When all the votes were in and all the farts were released it was J-Bo's Pizza who took the first place title away from the reigning champions Team Osprey and Ben. In a classy move even Ron Burgundy would have been proud of, J-Bo's Crew immediately donated the prize money back to the cause of the event, the San Juans Mountain Association. I noticed as we broke down the event that smiles were on the faces of all those in attendance. We tipped our hats to Ben and his crew. The shop employees were friendly and we enjoyed seeing their excitement as they put on for the first time the Voormi High-E hoodie and experienced our perfected combination of wool and synthetics. Knowing that Backcountry Experience will be carrying a full Voormiline by the end of October seemed to bring as much stoke to the enthusiastic crowd as it did to us. Durango is a phenomenal town and Backcountry Experience is an exceptional shop. Good people, great food and a love for life made the day's event an unquestionable success. Thank you to everyone involved and for including us. Voormi is looking forward to the 2014 contest and taking a place on the chili podium. When you come to a Voormi event this season and we're cooking chili...give us some feedback...we're preparing for 2014!

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