Dave Maxwell
Folks line up to enjoy the food at the annual Dutch Oven Cook-Off at Cathedral Gorge State Park Saturday.

Some people who attended the Dutch Oven Cook-Off at Cathedral Gorge State Park, Sept. 15, came from far away, without even knowing the event was going to take place.

Such was the case with a man and his family from Texas and a woman on vacation from Italy.

Over 200 people were at the Cathedral Gorge for the annual event.

Park interpreter Dawn Andone reported that approximately 20 cooks prepared 40 dishes, broken into four categories for judging: bread, dessert, side dish, and main dish. A panel of six judges made the decision for first, second, and third place, then all in attendance voted on the People’s Choice winner.

Monia Diguinmi, from Italy, said she was attending a business conference during the week in Las Vegas and, after the conference ended, decided to take an extra week to vacation in the area. She went to the Grand Canyon, then rented a car, a tent, and camping equipment, and visited a few state parks in rural Nevada.

Arriving at Cathedral Gorge the same day as the cook-off , she decided to see what was going on. “It was very nice, with good food and friendly people.”

Not all the cooks were locals. Several were from the Vegas area, including Douglas Schmidt and Paul Dicianno, who said they have come up the past four years. “It’s enjoyable. We get to feed and interact with people. It’s a lovely day each time we come.”

Neither man is a full-time cook. Schmidt is a mechanic and Dicianno works for a carpet-cleaning business.

Jack Olsen and his wife were on vacation from their home in a suburb of Houston, Texas, visiting a sister who lives in Douglas County, Nevada. His family and friends were camping at Cathedral Gorge.

“We had come to Nevada last year also,” he said, “and my sister was telling us how great all the Nevada state parks are. So we made plans to come back this year and do a camping trip. We had heard of the flood Cathedral Gorge had experienced in July, thought we might not be able to come here, but just recently learned it is open again, so we decided to come. I didn’t have any camping gear, so I went out and bought a motorhome, drove 2,000 miles from Texas to Nevada with four other people, and we are caravanning across Nevada.”

He said, “We just happened to be here at the same time the cook-off was taking place.”

He added, “A new experience for me, my first Dutch Oven cook-off, and a great community event.”

The list of winners of the cook-off were:


1st Steve and Evelyn Adamson, scones

2nd Spencer Hill, crusty bread

3rd Margaret Ann Garber, apple cinnamon bread


1st Chris Rigney, mound cake

2nd Doug Schmidt, pineapple cherry cake

3rd Kathleen and David LeBlanc, zucchini orange cake

Side dish

1st Steve and Evelyn Adamson, potatoes

2nd Margaret Ann Garber, cilantro rice

3rd Scott Wadsworth and Kyle Zierow, potatoes

Main dish

1st Michele Austria, elk stroganoff

2nd Cathy Gilmore, smothered chicken

3rd Doug Schmidt, butter chicken

People’s Choice, Margaret Ann Garber, cheesy enchilada meatballs.