Terlingua Chili Cook Off

Terlingua: A Texas Ghost Town Revived

Walking into Terlingua feels like stepping back in time. This old mining outpost, nestled just outside of Big Bend National Park, shakes off its ghost town dust once a year for the Terlingua chili cook off. What started as a local tiff over who makes the best chili ended up in the Texas Supreme Court. The verdict? Let there be not one, but two of the world’s largest chili cook-offs, simultaneously. It’s a weekend that turns a quiet town of 100 into a bustling gathering of a thousand strong, all drawn by the spirit of competition and camaraderie. 

Juan’s Stand-Up Moment: Resilience in the Face of ALS

This festival was unforgettable, particularly because Juan Reyes, a fellow camper battling ALS. The condition has taken a lot from him, but not his spirit or his humor. From his wheelchair, Juan delivered what he jokingly called a "sit-down" comedy routine that captured every heart in the audience. His resilience and ability to find humor in the face of such adversity reminded us all of what real battles look like and put our daily challenges into perspective.

Final Thoughts: The Heart of Texas

Driving out of Terlingua, I couldn’t help but feel a deeper connection to Texas and its people. The chili cook off is more than just a celebration; it’s a testament to community, resilience, and the raw beauty of human spirit. In a place marked as a ghost town, the vibrant life and enduring legacies of folks like Tom, Jack, and Juan prove that Terlingua is anything but forgotten. It’s a reminder that no matter where we come from, it’s how we live and the bonds we forge that truly define us.