We are going to hold a CELEBRATION OF LIFE for MIKIE McGARITY on the Eve of Cowtown CASI's 41st Annual Cookoff at The Vineyards Campgrounds on beautiful Lake Grapevine. How fittingly, as you all know how Chili was such a very big part of her life. She always wore one of her favorite Chili Hats and, before she started wearing her hair short, her ponytail protruded out the back of the hat (see photo attached).
Mikie, I and the boys moved to Dallas in 1981 from the Chicago area. Mikie and I began cooking competition chili in 1982. In 1989, we moved from Far North Dallas to Southlake and lived there from 1989 through 2004.
Our oldest boy, Michael graduated from J. J Pearce HS in Richardson and went on to graduate from The University of Texas in Austin. Mike and his wife Chris now live in Clear Lake with their two boys Alex and Will and their daughter Jana.
Our youngest son, Matt graduated from the "OLD" Southlake Carroll High School (aka Chigger Hill) in 1992 and went on to get his degree from The University of North Texas. Matt now lives in McKinney with his wife Jennifer and their son Zachary and daughter Penelope.
In Southlake, Mikie got her Real Estate License and went on to sell Residential Real Estate. But, in her spare time, she raised, trained and rode her beloved Tennessee Walking Horses: Missy, Rator and Casi, on what came to be known as Pepper Top Farm. At Pepper Top Farm, we also held the McChili McHog-In Chili Cookoff (each February) and the Gobbler Gathering Chili Cookoff (most every November). Both featured unique trophies. So many fond memories!
We also were privileged to host the Eat Me Texas Style BBQ (there is a story there, too long for here) at Pepper Top Farm well into the 90's. This was an event (really more of a happening) for 200 or so of our closest friends featuring BBQ and Beans prepared by the legendary Bill "Animal" Arnold and his lovely wife Marion. We also served Corn-on-the-Cob cooked over an open-flame fire and Blue Bell Ice Cream. And, of course, there was ample Beer, Wine and Music.
In 2001-02, Mikie and I hosted the Texas Men's State Chili Championship at The Ranch of Lonesome Dove on Lake Grapevine, after it existed for 30 years as Chilympiad in San Marcos. In 2003, we moved this cookoff to the Infield of Texas Motor Speedway. This cookoff benefited two of our favorite charities: The Grapevine American Business Club (aka AMBUCs - i.e., the Men) and the Grapevine Heritage AMBUCs (the Women). Mikie truly loved these men and women.
Her Celebration of Life will be in the Main Pavilion at the Vineyards Campground on Lake Grapevine on Friday, May 12th at 6:30 PM. See http://www.vineyardscampground.com/.
This is meant to be a Fun, Light-hearted Event (no Melancholy or Crying allowed) where folks can tell stories about and/or recall their remembrances of Mikie. And, oh yes, we'll also toast Mikie's life with Beer, Water or Soda Pop (all provided by Cowtown CASI). Or, you're welcome to bring your own favorite libation.
I'm also going to be giving away a bunch of Mikie's favorite Chili Hats, Koozies and assorted Memorabilia. I also have a limited number of Souvenir Cups left over from the last Eat Me Texas Style BBQ, which folks can take.
If you have questions, let me know. I sure hope you can make it.
Love you all,
Nick (aka Noyce)
CASI is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization of the Internal Revenue Code-EIN-74-2330479. Contributions are deductible under section 170 of the IRS Code. We receive tax-deductible bequests, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106,or 2522.