Situated directly across from the hated Chili Con Barney team and next to Chili AsCan Carne (the 1996 Astronaut Class), we managed to keep ourselves in the spotlight. We pulled off a 2nd place finish in the Grapefruit Pass and 1st place finish in the spoons, though our space trivia team left something to be desired. Placing just out of the money in beer chug, we were in the running for Pyramid Build (under 8 seconds in practice, with the New Fat Boyz What Don't Climb) until it inexplicably collapsed. Nonetheless, we were good enough for a second consecutive 2nd Place Showmanship Trophy.
We brought back an old favorite -- the water balloon launcher, which gave us a bit of trouble due to being deep in the trees, until we learned how to aim the balloon so that it dropped its water over the intended target. We nixed the pre-cookoff idea of putting pudding in the balloons. Jeers to the guy who got upset about getting wet and threw his beer on a Surfer. Unfortunately, Sally's cherry bombs were a bit weak. The tequila shots, as always, were a big hit (especially with some of the Ascans), although JSC Center Director George Abbey politely declined a shot.
And a new favorite was introduced -- Jello Shot Twister, in which the appropriately colored jello shot was consumed before the player moved their hand or foot. A good time was had by all.
This year's skit: a look behind the scenes at Jerry Linenger's "Letters to My Son", based on Jerry's real letters to his son about life aboard the Russian space station Mir. We ended with a rousing rendition by The Surfin' von Trapp Family Singers singing "So Long, Farewell to DT" (DT is the mail code for the Astronaut Training Division).
Oh, and since Tim has left, it appears that Gabe may be the devil now.
See Surfin' Chili in action! Jesse Pollard of filemedia.com was at the cookoff filming the proceedings. There's a whole page devoted to the 1997 Johnson Space Center Annual FOD Chili Cook-Off; we were there under the "smartass comments" section. (Sadly, the 1997 chili cookoff site has since been removed - this is the Internet Archive Wayback Machine's 2001 archive, and all it has is the text, no video.)