Giddy up to Horses, Hope and Healing's first chili cook-off


Spice up your Saturday at the inaugural Horses, Hope & Healing Hoedown Chili Cook-off.

This weekend’s event at the Saddle Oaks Historic Clubhouse will dish up hundreds of bowls in support of the titular charity, which helps keep at-risk and underprivileged kids out of trouble through teaching them to rehabilitate, care for, ride and show rescue horses. HHH founder Tiffany Oreglia says she envisioned the Hoedown as a seasonal counterpart to her organization’s galas and other, more formal fundraisers, with six chili teams squaring off for a $200 prize while helping to raise as much as $10,000 for her group.

“We thought it would be fun to reach out to more of the community,” explains Oreglia, who expects a crowd of 300 to chow down on Saturday—50 percent more attendees than she planned for before a word-of-mouth surge. The six available chili team slots were snapped up by the end of February (each team is also eligible to win a prize for the most colorfully decorated booth). Judges include former KCRA personality Bette Vasquez.

With the bigger crowd and the warm weather forecast for the weekend, Oreglia and her team decided to arrange for an outdoor fair component as well, including kids’ activities (like a bounce house, pony rides and face painting) and a demonstration featuring HHH’s young members and their horses. “It’ll be very simple,” she says. “But it’s an introduction to what we are.”

Oreglia notes that the competition chili will be provided to attendees on a first-come first-served basis starting at 3 p.m., while a house chili—“chili for the masses,” as Oreglia puts it—will be available for the duration. Beer, wine, soda and water will be available for purchase as well. Meanwhile, a silent auction will boast a one-year TiVo subscription, artwork, audio gear and other prizes.

The Horses, Hope & Healing Hoedown runs Saturday from 3-7 p.m. at 3200 Longview Dr. Tickets for the event are $15 and must be purchased in advance by contacting Oreglia at 916-880-8329, sending a message via the event's Facebook page, or by visiting the organization's barn at the Craigmont Equestrian Center in Sacramento. (3174 Craigmont St.)