Chili Slam History

The first year was 1993 and at that time all we had were 4 volleyball teams. It was located in an open field behind Lincoln Properties located at 100 Congress. That open lot is now a condo! For the next couple of years we held it at the same location and averaged about 115 attendees.

At that time we were called TACOE or a chapter of the Texas Association of Chief Operating Engineers. We became AAFAME in 1995.

In 1996 we moved to Zilker Park to have access to the sand volleyball courts and averaged about 160 attendees.

In 1997 we returned to Zilker Park and remained there until 3 years ago. We averaged 300 people this year and the event was catered by Bert’s BBQ.

In 1998 to 2000 we introduced children’s entertainment such as a clown, face painting and started to gain support from the managers and vendors for the annual event.

In 1999 Transwestern challenged the property management companies “Don’t enter unless you want to get beat!”. And low and behold, they won first place that year in volleyball!

It was in 2001 that Judi Ford suggested we add a chili-cook off to the event to get teams to cook food for the attendees. We had 16 chili teams our first year and 15 volleyball teams.

People have often asked why we don’t hold the event on a Friday? Well in 2002 we did have the event on a Friday and the turnout was very low and volunteers were scarce when it came time to clean up. Therefore we have the events on Thursday since then.

It was in 2003 that we held a contest to rename the event to something fun. Victor Leeber of Five Star Motors won the contest with the suggested name “Chili Slam”. Which basically represented a volleyball slamming in the chili! This was also the year that we broke a high temperature for 101 degrees in May. That is why we have the event in April now.

In 2004 we added horseshoes, ice cream making contest & jalapeno eating contest. The jalapeno contest only lasted this one year and Conner Smith was the undisputed champion with only one other contestant. He remains the Jalapeno King! This year we had 400 in attendance!

During 2005 and 2006 we added Brisket to the cook-off and best of show and people’s choice award categories. The cook-off competition is becoming a coveted award for bragging rights! This is also the year we started incorporating the top sponsor logo into the event logo.

In 2007 we had 98 teams including volleyball, horseshoes, washers, brisket, chili & tug of war. Then in 2008 is when the committee volunteers became known as the “Chili Monsters”. At that time it took 35 volunteers to coordinate the event. Today it takes 50+ volunteers to plan and work this event.

In 2009 we determined that our event had outgrown Zilker Park and we were told that installation of irrigation lines was going to delay our event so we moved to Krieg Field.

We started using wristbands in 2010 to determine how many attendees we were getting at the event. Our highest attendance to date is 700 attendees.

Due to a drought, in 2011 we had the fire ban that was imposed two days before the event, with the collective effort of several of our members we were able to secure a fire watch service at the park to still be able to have the BBQ pits for the cook-off. This is also the year we set a record of 123 total teams.

And in 2012 it was the 20th Annual Chili Slam and we featured a live band, a record number of teams and 750+ attendees. We even made the Austin American Statesman.

In 2014 we added some new features such as recycling, chop golf, new volunteer t-shirts and a waiver of liability. You know our event has hit the big time when it requires waivers.

In 2015 we had a drone take footage of the event and was able to see the magnitude of activities & number of attendees.

2018 was the year we hit record number of teams with 175 different categories including chili, BBQ, Jackpot, Horseshoes, Washers, Volleyball and Tug of war.

We set a record of over 1,000 attendees in 2019! This year we fenced off the entire event area for our private event.

Our beloved event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic and instead we had the Covid Slam which was met with mixed reviews.

Chili Slam retuned in 2021 to an enthusiastic crowd of over 700 fun loving folks and one stowaway raccoon.

We are bringing back the 29th Annual Chili Slam in 2022!