Fair’s first salsa contest draws 19 entries

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Rick Hontz, a contest judge, tastes salsa made by Jolene Rosales at Thursday night’s salsa contest at the Curry County Fair. Entries ranged from traditional to fruit salsa.

Sharna Johnson

Leah Cotton said making her salsa recipe is about the only cooking she does.

Cotton, a Clovis Realtor, won first place and people’s choice in Thursday night’s salsa contest at the Curry County Fair.

There were 19 contestants with salsa ranging from traditional to fruit salsa.

Cotton dismisses the shot of tequila she adds as the reason people love her salsa and said instead she thinks the combination of jalapenos, Hatch green chili and bell peppers that make her salsa a unique favorite.

She has added “a few things” to her recipe here and there, but it’s basically the same one she came up with years ago, she said.

Jan Riley, fair coordinator, said the contest raised $125, which will be donated to the Special Angels for an October event being held for individuals with special needs.

“It’s a new event and we’re hoping it will grow a little more, Riley said, explaining this was the first year for the contest.

Judges tasted the salsa then the public was able to buy a $1 tasting ticket and cast a vote for their favorite salsa.

Michael Bridges said he was there to support his 16-year-old son Trevor, who made salsa for the first time.

Bridges said Trevor won second place in Wednesday’s pie baking contest.

“He loves to bake,” he said.

Bobby Rosales said his wife Jolene toned down her salsa for the contest, leaving out the habanero and serrano chili she normally uses.

“I told her she should have just left it alone and sent some folks to the hospital,” he said with a laugh. Rosales there are only three people, including him, in the family who can eat her salsa.

Contest results