Best chili? Best bikes? Contests raise money in Pinecrest

A chili contest in Pinecrest raised $520 for a homeless children’s charity on Saturday.

Peterson Harley Davidson and Pinecrest Gardens raised the money for Phil Peterson Charities Inc., which helps homeless kids stay in school, during the seventh Annual Chili Cook-Off.

Attendees, who paid a $5 entry fee, helped judge the best chili recipe while listening to bands, including Cutler Stew and 18 Wheelers.

Apart from the contest, the motorcycle dealer had its own contest in which people paid $20 to enter their bikes for judging. The proceeds also went to charity.

Awards that rely on people’s preferences are the best because you never know what people like, said Peterson’s Harley Sales Manager Linda Peterson.

“We’re so lucky to have a venue that allows us to come together under the beauty of South Florida,” she said.

Contestants showcased their motors, their leather seats and their creativity.

“My purpose is to get in front of as many people as possible and let them know what’s going on in our community, where the needs are and then promoting people to say, ‘Hey, I heard what you had to say and I want to help,’” said Peterson.

Marcel Lilavois won first place in the bike contest. He said he had been working on his motorcycle for almost three years with the help of a friend who owns a bike shop.

“When building this bike I wanted a lot of the mechanical things to show, like the way the chain works or the way the gear and pistons turn,” said Lilavois. “Seeing people’s faces, the way they would just be in awe and in shock, for people that don’t know about bikes and that do know about bikes, that’s really what I enjoy.”

The rest of the evening included line dancing, a performance from the Miami Heat dancers and an apple pie eating contest.

“What I love most about the Chili Cook-Off is the comradery, you meet a lot of nice people and this particular event is beautiful,” said chili contestant Tom Sayward.