The annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off will take place on Central Avenue in beautiful downtown Laurel on Saturday, February 8, 2020. Teams from across the state will compete to win the chili trophy. The job of judging all that deliciousness can’t be easy, but we’ve rounded up a team of tasters who are up to the task!
Meet the Judges
Joe Berlin is a 23 year veteran of law enforcement. Before being elected as Sheriff of Jones County, Berlin was a Sergeant in the Laurel Police Department. Sheriff Berlin is married and has two daughters. He loves fishing, spending time with his family, and serving the citizens of Laurel and Jones county.
Jessica Bowman is the WDAM 7 Sunrise morning anchor. The Texas native is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. During her years as a Golden Eagle she honed her skills interning in the newsroom at ABC’s World News Tonight in New York.
She started her reporting career on the Mississippi Gulf Coast before moving to Jackson, and eventually joining WDAM as an anchor and reporter.
She is an Associated Press award-winning reporter and has covered hurricanes, oil spills, state corruption trials, high profile homicide investigations and other extraordinary feature stories.
Akeem Davis is a former American football safety that played in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Memphis, and signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Davis has also been a member of the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars.
He is currently the cornerbacks coach for the University of Southern Mississippi. Davis is married to his high school Sweetheart, Sierra Sky Davis and they are parents to daughter Carsyn, and son, Corinthian Akeem Davis II.
Davis is also the founder of the AD47 Football Leadership Academy. The AD47 Football Leadership Academy is a free, one-day, football skills camp, dedicated to promoting leadership, citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. AD47 is sanctioned and insured by the NFL Foundation and run in partnership with USA Football through the FUNdamentals program. The inaugural AD47 was held in Laurel, MS in June 2015, and featured 53 school children, ages 8–12 from across the Laurel area.
Angela Tarrant is the Executive Producer and Showrunner for HGTV’s Home Town, set in beautiful Laurel, MS. She has been working on the show since helping produce the pilot episode in 2015.
Angela has directed and produced several pilots and sizzle reels for HGTV, including The Housleys, Home Stretch, Make Me Rich and Rough Housing.
Before starting a career in home renovation television, Angela spent 15 years working on national news programs in New York and Washington, DC. They include On the Record with Greta Van Susteren at Fox News, The Abrams Report and Scarborough Country on MSNBC and Burden of Proof and American Morning on CNN.
Angela was born in Marietta, Georgia and received her B.A. in journalism and political science from DePauw University.
Originally from Meridian, MS, Andy Webb is an On-Air Radio Personality who’s entertained & informed listeners from Mississippi to South Carolina (and back again) for 25 years. Andy won the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters’ “Radio Personality of the Year” award four out of five years (2006-2010), and has been featured on numerous formats, including Country, Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Southern Gospel, and even Urban AC. You can now hear him weekday mornings from 6am-10am on B95’s “Breakfast Club.” Andy currently resides in Hattiesburg with his wife, Emma, and his daughter, Isabel.
Thank you to our incredible Sponsors and Producers!
Events like the Chili Cook Off just wouldn’t be possible without the support and backing of local businesses. These sponsorships help pay for the prizes, supplies and more! Their donations also help fund the Laurel Main Street Façade & Amenities grant and are directly responsible for the improvements you see in downtown Laurel.
Our Signature Sponsor
The Chili Cook Off’s signature sponsor is Magnolia State Bank. We are so thankful for the financial support and helping hands they provide every year to make this event a successful one.
The City of Laurel
Jones County Chamber of Commerce
Carl & Mandy Buchanan, Community Bank, Mississippi Power, B Clean LLC, Mike Axton and Southern Beverage Company
Event producers provide in-kind support of the event by providing products, services or advertising to make the event a reality. Thank you to WBBN B95 Country, Supertalk Radio, WDAM, and Studio5Fifty for helping to promote and organize the event.