IR athletics starts cookin'

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a warm bowl of chili on a brisk winter day, and members of Indian River High’s athletic department are taking full advantage of that fact. Next month, the high school will host the First Annual Indian River Chili Cook-Off – just one of several fundraisers the school plans to present this year, in an effort to boost their athletic programs.

The cook-off, scheduled to run between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the IRHS cafeteria on Feb. 21, welcomes all competitors. A professional division will be held for submissions from businesses and restaurants, while an amateur division will judge anyone else who feels their chili can pack a tasty punch. An entry fee of $20 is required for submissions in the pro category, while amateur entrants will pay $10. General admission of $5 will be collected from those wishing to stop in and get a taste of some of the area’s best.

“In athletics, you always need funding,” said Todd Fuhrmann, athletic director for Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School. “The district has been very generous, and has been able to support us. By bringing in some extra funds, it opens the doors to some things you normally can’t do. This way, maybe we can get that extra tournament for a team, or new warm-ups, or an extra ball – something a team needs that they haven’t had for some years.”

Fuhrmann said he hopes to supplement all sports involved with the high school, including golf and tennis, which could see some extra equipment improvements in the near future.

“By holding events like this,” he added, “it takes a burden off of our boosters, who may think they need to raise all the money.”

The athletes out on the courts and fields aren’t the only ones benefitting from these fundraisers.

“By holding these,” Fuhrmann said, “we’re trying to bring in some more community support and involvement.”

Events such as a wing cook-off and car show bring in an element of community involvement, touching on the hobbies and passions of many.

“It’s the support from the community and towns that allow these kids to be playing these sports. It gives people an opportunity to give back by doing something they love, like cooking, rather than asking them for a flat, monetary donation,” he said.

Fuhrmann said he hopes to get other money-raising activities under way soon, including a barbecue rib cook-off, motorcycle show, three-versus-three basketball tournament and banner campaign.

“Our school doesn’t really have a budget for our athletics,” said physical education instructor and athletic coordinator Phil Mead. “We can finance our phys-ed programs, and health and sports medicine classes, but we need something that will help bring things up to pace with our weight room and other athletic means.”

By early spring, the department plans to be holding a variety of other fundraisers, including a car show. For more information, contact Phil Mead or Todd Fuhrmann at Indian River High School by calling (302) 732-1500.