I switched this posting of mine from your other forum:
The chili contest idea could
be great, or it could be a disaster. It all depends on three things:
1. Are you going to get enough entries to really get a "best" recipe? You said it is a small town, and Wisconsin is not noted for chili. Even the best recipe might not be that great, or you might only get one contestant.
2. In a small town everyone knows everyone else. Are there different factions there that don't get along? If a person from one group wins the contest, will that get other people (from another group) ticked off enough to boycott your restaurant?
3. Will the winner be willing to give up their recipe to you, even for money (unless it's a lot
of money)? If the recipe has been in their family for generations, there might even be in-fighting in the family over whether it should be released (not good publicity in a small town). For that matter, with you being an outsider (not a native), they might not be willing to release the recipe at all for any price
These are all things you might want to "sound out" from the natives ahead of time.