According to league president Susan Malcolm, the heat level of the chili ranged from "blow the top of your head off" to a very mild and "kid friendly" entry. From Petsworth Elementary School Winona Pearson’s entry was considered by most customers as the hottest chili. A fellow competitor commented that Pearson’s chili was helping to serve more sodas. Shannon Ackley touted her chili as "child friendly" since it was very mild to suit her two children.
It was noted, too, that the guests had different approaches to their tasting. Most people began their evening of enjoying chili by starting at the table closest to the entrance door and then working their way around the room. "However," Susan said, "once the word got out that some chilies were very hot, people either went straight for those tables or saved them until the end. Cheryl Adams of Holly Beach had a unique method of tasting. She got a sample of the chilis, lined them up in order and added sour cream and cheese before she started her tastings."