Fire In The Hole Cookers. Behind The Scenes.

Everyone loves the free food, party, and beverages at the Cook-Offs…but this party is the culmination of a year long effort.

Going into my third year as a FITHC team member, I can attest to the long hours of preparation that climax with three long days of celebration for our guests and one long week of hard work for our team members. This starts almost immediately after we break down the tent. The building and fund raising meetings occur throughout the year as we prepare to improve on this celebration.

Michael Stinson started this effort with 10 bales of hay and a $200.00 tent in 1994 while selling carnival tickets for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where he won the Top Rookie sales award. The following year he won a BBQ Pit and the match was struck.

In 1996 a long time friend and business owner Thomas Cangelosi/NEPCO brought his expertise and Italian cooking skills to the team.

The name Fire In The Hole Cookers name was inspired by the heat emanating from Jeremy Retzlaff’s and Mike’s chili recipe one late night in 1995, in the kitchen of his Carrabba’s Restaurant in Sugarland.

While waiting 15 years for an opening in the vast line-up of BBQ Cook-Off teams at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,  the team honed their skills at various events like the Rice Stadium Cook-Off, Fort Bend County Fair, Holdem and Hitem in Bear Creek Park, and the UH Cook-Offs.

The team consists of business owners and friends united in providing an atmosphere of celebration for hard work and a long time goal of scholarship for our youth.

The sponsors list has been constant throughout the years of  team growth with Cambridge Windows and Doors, Dr. Pepper, NEPCO, Carrabbas ( Katy Frwy ), Smile Texas, Texas Texas Salsa, Red Door Funding,In A Flash Photography, Gulf Coast Insulation, Premier Paging, Cima Technology, Katy Christian Magazine and Brasher Motor Company.

This year we are happy to announce the additions of TXU Energy and EMI Corporation.

So stop by and visit our tent if you get a chance. Just look for the long line. For additional information, visit

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