If you’re ever seen our collection of ideas for hosting your own chili cook-off party, then you know how much Jo and I enjoy having a cook-off each year. I’m hosting such a party this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to all the yummy chili recipes that I’ll get to sample from our friends.
I decided to make new voting ballots this year that were simpler, easier to use, and way cuter than anything I’d used before. I also thought it would be a nice addition to my growing collection of matching chili cook-off printables that also includes chili cook-off invitations and chili pot labels. I made an easy download to share so you guys can print your own, too!
|Download our Chili Cook-off Voting Ballots|
Here’s what you need to know about this download:
- It’s big and contains lots of pages. There are pages with the crockputs numbered 1 through 32, which will match up nicely with the entries in your cook-off, assuming you label the chilis with the chili pot labels I shared with you previously. There’s also a page with no number, in case you need more than 32 or don’t want to number the chilis.
- The first item on the ballot asks the judge to classify the chili as either “traditional” or “creative”. I find there are merits to both classes of chili, so I like to award prizes for sticking to the classics as well as innovation. Each chili will be classified in the category most people choose for it, and the best one in each category will win.
- The next item on the ballot asks the judge to rate the chili’s taste, from “Amazing” (5 points) down to “Bad” (1 point). The chili with the highest average score in each category will win!
Once you have an estimate for how many chili entries you’ll have, you can print out just those numbers. Be sure to print enough copies so that each of your guests can vote on each chili. Then just cut the ballots out and they are ready to go.
That is, of course, unless you want to take it a step further, and I always want to take it a step further!
I decided to make the ballots into little notepads so that each guest can just grab one and a pen and easily vote on his or her favorites.
The first thing I did was to separate my ballots into stacks, with one of each numbered page in each stack. Then I cut some ordinary chipboard into pieces the same size as my ballots. If you don’t have chipboard on hand, you could use extra cardboard or cereal boxes.
Then I started stacking my papers and cardboard, one after the other, until I had them all in one giant stack.
Then I grabbed the whole stack, put the top edge down on the table, and tapped it firmly until all the tops of all the pages were nice and smooth and flat. I then secured it all together with a couple of big rubber bands near the top edge.
To make these loose pages and boards into one giant notepad (don’t worry, I’ll split them up later), I reached for my trusty padding compound. This stuff is a great way to turn any paper pages into a notepad quickly and easily! It’s pretty hard to find locally, so we sell 2oz bottles of padding compound in our Amazon store, to make it easier on ya.
As we described in our notepad tutorial, just brush the padding compound onto the edge of the paper and let it dry. I find setting it on the edge of the table while it dries helps avoid making a mess.
Once the glue dries, you’ll have a nice smooth coat on the end. If you tapped the ends down firmly enough, you’ll have a giant notepad with all the sheets attached.
Now I couldn’t have everyone working off a single pad, of course, so the next step was to cut the individual pads apart. To do this, I just grabbed the top set of sheets and chipboard, lifted it up, and gently slid a thin paring knife underneath. I ran the knife along the glued edge, cutting that pad free from the stack.
I’m not sure why exactly, but this was the most satisfying part of the whole project for me. It’s so fun to have all the little notepads appear so quickly!
During the chili cook-off, I’ll just let each guest grab a pad and a pen and go about their tasting and scoring throughout the evening. They will get to classify each chili as either traditional or creative, and then rate how good it tastes.
My cook-off will have two prizes — one for “Best Traditional Chili and one for “Best Creative Chili”. When the voting is over, I’ll just look at all the ballots for each chili and then determine based on the votes whether a chili goes into the traditional or creative category. Then I’ll add up the taste rankings (5 points for Amazing and 1 point for Bad) and the chili with the highest average score in that category wins!
To make it even easier to add up the scores, I created an Excel spreadsheet that does the math for me. Download our Chili cook-off score sheet and open it on your computer at home for some quick vote tallying!