Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation Secondary Navigation

Women aviators spice things up at annual chili cook-off and fly-in

Holly Craddock and Pete Shooner | Nov 9, 2015
WIA Chili cookoff
Photos by Ashley Stottlemyer

Women aviators spice things up at annual chili cook-off and fly-in

Holly Craddock and Pete Shooner | Nov 9, 2015

Photos by Ashley Stottlemyer

Cloudy skies and “chilly” weather set the stage for the Women in Aviation International’s (WAI) annual chili cook off and fly-in fundraiser Saturday at the Ohio University Airport in Albany, Ohio.

Now in its fourth year, the open house-style event is the student organization’s largest fundraiser, helping members attend the annual WAI International Conference, to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, in March.

“The chili cook off introduces OHIO students and the Athens community to our airport in a fun manner,” said aviation flight and aviation management senior Colleen Thompson, who organized the event. “We had a fairly large turnout, and it’s always nice to be able to interact with the community.”

For a small fee, competitors submitted their chilies for students, parents and community members to taste. As pilots flew in from around the region, the event gave attendees a closer look at OHIO aviation as they judged the chilies in a plane-filled hangar.

“It was wonderful to see so many new faces and even new competitors this year,” said Department of Aviation Records Management Associate and Chief Flight Dispatcher Theresa Meyer, who took home the awards for best overall and best spicy chili. “Seeing all of the support from the community is heart-warming.”

Other winners included Shannin Ledgett, for best traditional chili, and Nicholas Niechayev, in the non-traditional category. Meyer admitted she’s already started planning for 2016’s cook-off, but she kept coy on the details.

“Next year? Yes, I have new ideas, but I’ll keep them secret for now,” Meyer said.

WAI member and aviation flight junior Carolyn Miller said her favorite part is tasting all of the creative recipes, but that the event has two important goals beyond just chili: making the Women in Aviation community more visible and funding student attendance at the WAI conference.

“Attending the conference is important because it provides access to so many resources,” said Miller, who attended last year’s conference in Dallas. “I learned about different features for weather planning last year, and many people use the conference as a way to get job interviews and make connections, which is important in this industry. This year, the OHIO chapter will have a booth in the exhibit hall and a spot at the college fair, hopefully meaning more people coming to OHIO to learn to fly!”