For the last 18 of the 45 Super Bowls, members and friends of First Christian Church have joined together for a soup and chili contest and fellowship while watching the NFL championship event.

Kerry and Mickey Campbell described the beginning of the annual gathering, saying they started it in their home.

“When we had up to 60 people, we had to move it to the church,” Kerry Campbell said, saying the watch party has been held at the fellowship hall for the past seven years.

The group has always combined the Super Bowl watch party with a soup contest called the Soup-er Bowl.

“We had as many as 14 to 15 entries competing in categories with names like Best of the Best and Just like Grandma always made,” he said.

The Campbells call their cook-off, Campbell’s Creative4Cooking with Soup, and this year’s entries were just as creative as those in the past.

Besides soup, a competition of chili cooks was added two years ago.

“This is the second year we’ve had chili,” Kerry Campbell said, noting that several of the members also participated in the Gingerbread House Chili Cook-Off at the Ellis County Expo Center the same weekend.

One of the chili entrants was Gary Grant. Asked if Sunday’s chili recipe was the same as his Gingerbread entry Saturday, he said, “No, I followed a recipe yesterday, today’s is my own creation.”

Just before the game kicked off, bowls and spoons were passed out and the tasting began, and the tasting and comparison began of each of the soup and chili entries. Taking careful dips of the spoon, the guests completed the contest ballots.  

The guests also began selecting their best viewing seat and enjoying the many desserts brought to the watch party. Kerry Cambell asked who was for the Packers, with several loud cheers heard.

His calling out, “Who here wants the Steelers to win?” was answered by a lone cheer: Mickey yelling, “Go, Steelers.”

“I’ve always been a Steelers girl. My daddy was a Steelers fan and I followed right behind him,” she said. 

With the fans seated in front of the big screen television, some in Green Bay green and yellow, cheers erupted with the first Packer touchdown. Soon a second Packer touchdown off of an interception put Mickey down by 14.

“They’ll come back, don’t worry,” she told the Packer fans.

By the end of the first quarter, the ballots were counted and the winners were ready to be announced. Kerry took the mike to thank the entrants and those who donated canned goods and monies.

Grant picked up the top honors and was awarded a plaque and the large “coveted chromium ladle.” Kerry said, in the past, the ladle went to the soup winner, but they decided it should go the to the top chili this year.

In the soup category, the first award went to Mickey Campbell for receiving the “Just Like Grandma Always Made.” The “Best of the Best” soup creator award went to Susan McDonald.  

Both McDonald and Mickey Campbell received a framed certificate and a smaller soup ladle.

Kerry Campell said that, besides some friendly competition and offering a chance for some good family fellowship, the watch party is also a fundraiser.

“We collect canned goods to donate to local charities in Waxahachie. The money we are donated goes to fund community projects by the churches men’s group,” he said.