To kick off February, the Rio Rancho Events Center is hosting The Rio Rancho Home Improvement Marketplace Show from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5.
The show features experts in home improvement, as well as many new exhibitors, as the home show returns for the first time in three years. It also features a chile cook-off between the police and fire departments on Saturday, Feb. 4.
“I do understand that both the police and the firemen are really looking forward to this event,” said David Griffin, president of High Desert Communications. “There used to be a number of different chile contests in town then, when COVID-19 hit three years ago, those kind of went away.”
As restrictions lighten up, folks want to bring the community back to Rio Rancho.
“Now we’re bringing them back and we are looking to the next event now,” Griffin said. “We are looking forward to another event coming up in April.”
Tickets start at $6 each and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
The cook-off will benefit the TEN-82 Foundation.
“The TEN-82 Foundation does a great job with the police and fire department in Rio Rancho,” Griffin said. “Rio Rancho takes care of older folks, has lots of great parks, the education system is great, their sports teams are real proud and it is a cool place.”
This event will feature chefs from the police and fire departments, as well as cooking from Mayor Gregg Hull.
“We’d like to thank Mayor Hull, the city of Rio Rancho, Albuquerque and the surrounding communities for supporting this event,” Griffin said in a press release. “We are committed to holding down attendance ticket prices and exhibitor booth costs, and we’re proud to have the best home improvement companies at the Rio Rancho Home Improvement show.”
The cook-off is one way New Mexicans can celebrate the state’s proud and delicious culture.
“Chile is the most popular food in New Mexico; we love it and it is Indigenously ours,” Griffin said. “It is New Mexican food … it is indigenously New Mexican and it’s delicious.”
Though the cook-off is for a good cause, the audience still gets to see the fire department go up against the police department.
“I have not actually talked with the chefs yet, who are going to remain quiet because we don’t want to give anybody an advantage,” Griffin said. “You know, you are not going to know who you are actually voting for, so the person or the participants are going to keep that quiet until we get to the end.”
There will be introductions at about 10 a.m. on Feb. 4, and the chefs will get underway and bring the chile to its perfect temperature at about 10:30 a.m.
The final cooking should finish around 11:15-11:30 a.m. and the tasting will start at 11:30 a.m. until the chile is gone. After that, they will tally the vote totals for each chef, and announce the winner.
Each chef is bringing at least three gallons, so if there’s enough chile left, they will auction off the rest.