Celebrating City, Country & Chisholm Trail

Meridian Parks & Rec’s Chisholm Trail Roundup offers open chili cookoff, a live music dance and a variety of family-fun activities July 9

MERIDIAN – What better way to celebrate the nation and a town’s shared birthday than to hold a free community event for everybody to enjoy?

Meridian Parks & Recreation Committee decided to elaborate on their 2021 Chisholm Chili Cookoff by making it a day of celebrating Meridian’s parks and new amenities by adding abundant family fun activities for visitors to enjoy. They decided to call the event the Chisholm Trail Roundup, celebrating the history and legacy of the cowboys coming through the area on their iconic cattle drives from South Texas to the Red River and beyond.

The Meridian Parks & Recreation invites all of Bosque County and surrounding counties to come out and enjoy the day’s free activities at the Chisholm Trail Roundup held at Bosque Bottoms, Chisholm Trail Plaza, John A. Lomax Amphitheater in Meridian Park and Lion’s Park on July 9. Gates open at 9 a.m. and the event is free to the public.

“We feel it’s important to put on a fun, great and quality event for our Bosque County community,” Meridian Parks & Recs President Don Hatley said. “We are extremely proud of our community and what it is becoming. Now we have the amphitheater and the Plaza, we are seeing a positive influence in visitor traffic to the town, the parks and the Farmers’ Market.

“We feel we are making big strides in making changes for the better and we want to share that with the community; show it off even. We are celebrating and honoring our town, county and country, so we hope people will come out and have a pleasant, enjoyable day. Our volunteers are going to do the best we can to show our visitors the best possible time.”

Everything is open to the public, and who doesn’t want the chance to judge some award-winning chili or Margarita? Judging takes place in the climate-controlled Meridian Civic Center for the judges’ convenience and comfort! Or participate in some fun game tournaments?

The open Chisholm Chili Cook Off celebrates Texas’ state dish, while the margarita contest celebrates the true Texan adult beverage. The games will be celebrating Meridian’s parks and the new and improved amenities they offer. The Centex Classics and Hot Rod Club’s Shine & Show celebrating those spectacularly spiffed up classic cars. And the Bosque Boot Scootin’ Live Music & Dance Series at the Meridian Civic Center in the evening will feature the award-winning Kristyn Harris and her band celebrating Texas swing and classic western music.

Rounding off the event will be a Sunday morning breakfast and church at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater celebrating community and family. Feel free to bring your own snacks and favorite beverage. The Robin’s Nest food truck will be in the Civic Center parking lot selling food items during the band concert. Tickets for the Bosque Boot Scootin’ Live Music & Dance starting at 7 p.m. are $25, and are available at City Hall. Please call 254-435-2381 for more information.

Their concert is all about celebrating Texas Swing and classic Western music. Kristyn’s unique voice brought her all the way onto the 2018 season of ABC’s American Idol, where she sang and yodeled for the judges. Her singing has been praised as "timeless" with "the warmth and power of Texas sunshine.” Her voice is complimented on stage by her swing guitar playing, songwriting, and energetic stage presence. Seeing her and Hailey perform, you know they are totally authentic performers. Kristyn described herself as an “old-fashioned girl, with a vintage streak running deep.”

“Kristyn Harris is one of the greatest talents that I have ever heard,” fellow musician and Cowboy poet Red Steagall said. “Her heart is as big as Texas and it shows when she performs.”

Meridian Parks and Recs hopes to encourage Volunteer Fire Departments, churches, families, businesses to pit their chili making skills in a friendly chili contest or game tournaments. Who will go home with the bragging rights? And the money prize? We want to know!

The Open Chisholm Chili turn in is at 2 p.m. Payout is 90 percent of the entry fees collected to the top four cookers, and there is a special First Responders Prize. So with more cookers, there is more prize money to win! Surrounding the cook off is a popular Margarita contest with turn in at noon; also with a 90 percent pay out to the top three. Gates open at noon on Friday, July 8. Call Kamree Nieuwenhuis to secure a camping spots at Bosque Bottoms at 254-709-3761.

At the Centex Classic Car and Hot Rods Show and Shine between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., they expect between 60-80 cars to be on show. Be sure to enter your choice for the People’s Choice award. At 10 a.m. the nation’s and state’s colors will be hoisted to fly proudly in the breeze after the dedication of the new flagpole between the Chisholm Trail Plaza and the John A. Lomax Amphitheater.

Come participate in corn hole, horseshoe, washer, three-on three basketball and whiffle ball tournaments at Lion’s Park in the afternoon. Entry fees to the tournaments are $10 per person. High School 3-on-3 hoops starts at noon, as does the dunking booth. The horseshoe tournament is at 1 p.m., the 3-on-3 hoops for adults is at 3 p.m., as is the washer tournament. The games afternoon concludes with the corn hole tournament at 4 p.m. While you play your tournament, your kids can enjoy the playground, the picnic tables, and a special area with kid’s games and a blow-up obstacle course for the kids in the shade. A dunking booth gives visitors the chance to dunk a few community leaders – it’s always fun to see someone unexpectedly go down with a splash!

After browsing by and visiting a diversity of vendors on hand browse, a bowl of flavorful chili always tastes good, even in the summertime. Check out a good bowl of red at the Robin’s Nest food court on River Street. The food court celebrates local restaurants, by offering a diversity of foods – among other things there will be breakfast burritos, pizza, donuts. They will also have lemonade, tea and water; and the Meridian Public Library will have coke and root beer flats for sale. There will be traditional funnel cakes and delicious Mexican elotes. And come check out Bosque Animal Rescue Kennel’s spot where they will have some adorable puppies ready for adoption. Additionally, the area Farmer’s Market is present on the Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon with fresh produce and arts and crafts.

The Christian Motorcyclists Association – Hillsboro Chapter with their vision to change the world, one heart at a time through evangelistic outreach primarily, but not exclusively, to the motorcycling community have taken up the challenge to cook in the chili competition also. Come check out their booth and motorcycles during the event. Their Sunday morning free/love offering burrito breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and morning service at 9 a.m. at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater is all about celebrating Christian fellowship.

The Chisholm Chili Cook Off and all the surrounding activities promises to be a fun, family event with loads of stuff to enjoy. Be sure to check it out! Bring the family, bring your friends, come play, come have fun, come listen to the music, come enjoy Meridian at its best. Come be part of this new signature Bosque County event! See flyer for all the planned, fun activities and times.

To sign up as a chili cooker, Margarita mixologist, vendor or participant in the games, please sign up through the Meridian website at: http://www.meridiantexas.us/community/page/special-events or http://www.meridiantexas.us/forms. Cook off rules and regulations are available on the website or by calling Meridian City Hall at 254-435-2381.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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