Off to the races: ATO and Chi O to host annual Bed Races and Chili-Cook-Off

ATO and Chi O will host their annual chili cook-off and bed races to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Each year, the fraternity and sorority sell t-shirts and chili, in addition to registering teams for a fee - all to raise money for the children. The hosts even removed their Greek letters to put complete focus on their inspiration for the event. Photo courtesy of Alpha Tau Omega.

By Maya Butler | Reporter

Students will soon help the Make-A-Wish North Texas Foundation in the most unexpected way – by racing each other on hospital beds.

This year’s Bed Races and Chili Cook-Off, cohosted by fraternity Alpha Tau Omega and sorority Chi Omega, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Fountain Mall.

The popular all-university event began over a decade ago and has since become an annual tradition between the two Greek organizations.

The Make-A-Wish North Texas Foundation serves as the national philanthropy for Chi Omega and grants wishes to children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions.All proceeds earned at the event will go toward the philanthropy.

Dallas junior and ATO co-chair of the event Blake Arnold described the outcome of combining two events in one night.

“I think it’s a really cool combination,” Arnold said. “They’re two basically separate events, but we’re bringing [it] together as one unique, cohesive event.”

Students eager to race on a hospital bed can register in teams of five for the Bed Races. Barrels of hay will form two racetracks for the bed races before teams reach an inflatable obstacle course for a chance to cross the finish line first. Teams will compete in either the female or male brackets, with $150 awarded to first place, $75 to second and $25 to third for each bracket. If they desire, team members can even dress up in costumes for some more added fun.

Those not inclined to race the track can choose to face off against other participants in a chili cook-off, if they feel their cooking is worthy of winning over the crowd.There will be five judges, including Baylor women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey. The first place chili will earn a $100 visa gift card, with second and third place getting a $50 visa gift card and a free T-shirt. Attendees wishing to warm up during the cold weather can purchase a $5 ticket to receive unlimited chili at the event, along with Jason’s Deli and Tiff’s Treats.

Austin senior and ATO member Chad Brown, co-chair, listed the atmosphere as his favorite part about the event, besides its philanthropic purpose.

“You got a lot of stuff going on,” Brown said. “You can get food and then come watch the races. Everybody shows up, and we all know we’re there supporting Make-A-Wish. [It’s a] fun environment for a good cause.”

Both organizations have been selling T-shirts priced at $15 throughout campus, with “2018 Bed Races Chili Cook-Off” printed on the back and “Benefiting Make-A-Wish” right below. Brown explained the difference in the design for the T-shirts this year.

“We took our [Greek] letters off the shirt completely because we wanted to shift the focus away from the fraternity and sorority and make it more on Make-A-Wish,” Brown said.

Sherman junior Kacie Smith, marketing coordinator for Baylor Activities Council, explained how BAC’s partnership with ATO and Chi O has contributed to making the event a success in the past.

“We have three different organizations,” Smith said. “Having everyone’s input really just helps us give kind of an overarching reach and ultimately draw more people to come to the event and raise more money.”

Last year the Bed Races and Chili Cook-Off raised around $27,000 for the families involved in the philanthropy, with around 1,000 people in attendance. Three families affected by the Make-A-Wish donations will be at the upcoming event.

“We see it directly impacting these families,” Arnold said. “This is a big part of their children’s lives. It’s something they’re going to remember forever.”