After competing in the Crosslake Days Chili Cookoff for 18 years, Bart Taylor and his wife, Lisa, will be taking a new role in the annual event — the two were named Crosslake Days royalty..
Bart and Lisa, longtime residents of Crosslake, both grew up with family cabins on the Whitefish Chain. It was in Crosslake that the two met at a Lions Club spaghetti dinner.
The Taylors say the whole family loves living on the Whitefish Chain.
Bart and Lisa’s two children, Hannah, 9, and Millie, 6, enjoy wakeboarding, knee boarding and water-skiing. Lisa, too, is a water-skier.
When they’re not on the lakes, Bart is branch president of Riverwood Bank in both Crosslake and Baxter. Lisa is in sales for her family’s company, Karlsburger Foods. She also helps out with reading at Crosslake Community School.
The two are also involved in Mount Ski Gull. Bart is vice chair of the board of directors, and he said the whole family enjoys downhill skiing.
Skiing is just one of many wintertime activities Lisa said the family enjoys, including ice fishing, snowmobiling and ice skating.
Bart is a member of the Crosslake-Ideal Lions Club and spent many years with the chamber of commerce both as a member and board member.
They say they prefer living in a small community like Crosslake.
“One of the coolest things is you pretty much know everybody in town,” Bart said.
“I love the small community and the way everybody helps each other out. I like a small-town feel,” Lisa said.
Bart usually makes chili for Riverwood Bank in the cookoff, and Lisa has helped the students at Crosslake Community School with their chili.
Unfortunately, Bart won’t continue in his tradition of competing in the chili cookoff, an event in which he’s won several awards.
This is because of Minnesota Department of Health laws that require that all meat be prepared in a commercial kitchen, something Bart doesn’t have access to.
Bart said his secret ingredient in the chili was smoked pork shoulder and beef brisket, an ingredient that takes time. He had been using his personal smoker for the meat.
He’s outspoken about his personal disagreement with the health department’s rules.
“I understand that there is always some risk in food-borne illness,” he said. “But, call me crazy, I feel I should have the freedom of choice (for a charity event in this great country) to cook my chili’s meat in my smoker behind my house.”
While he’s disappointed he won’t be participating in the chili competition, he’s excited to try other businesses’ chili. In the past, he’s been so busy serving his 10 gallons of chili that he hasn’t made it to other competitors’ sites.
Cindy Myogeto of the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce said the criteria for becoming Crosslake Days royalty is all about the Crosslake community. Royalty, she said, are community supporters, Crosslake cheerleaders and people who are involved in community events and organizations.
The Taylors are all of these things, Myogeto said.
“They’re just good community people.”