Taste of Cincinnati

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As the Official Chili of the Cincinnati Bengals, Gold Star Chili recently flew west to bring a taste of Cincinnati to the Carson Palmer Open in Dana Point, Calif.

"We wanted to get involved because of our relationship with the Bengals and to support Carson's charity work," said Lori Busse Hubbard, marketing director for Gold Star Chili. "Hearing that Carson wanted to create a Cincinnati-themed hole with chili and cornhole, we wanted to make sure the players got a true, authentic taste of our chili."

Gold Star set up a serving station on the 11th hole that featured Cincinnati favorites chili, cheese coneys and cornhole, and the hole instantly became a hit with the golfers. Guests, which included several current and former athletes such as Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen, Baltimore tackle Jonathan Ogden and two of his Ravens teammates, quarterback Kyle Boller and tight end Todd Heap, Patriots linebacker and former Palmer USC teammate Oscar Lua, and former baseball great Rod Carew, enjoyed the opportunity to sample one of Cincinnati's legendary delicacies.

Gold Star franchise owner Marc Rulli and representative Dave Mayerik were on site manning tables set up to distribute the coneys, cans of chili, spice products and other Gold Star retail products.

"We probably served about 100 coneys or more and everybody loved them," Rulli said.

Palmer's representatives contacted Gold Star saying they wanted a taste of Cincinnati at the tournament and wondered if it was possible to get Gold Star there.

"We could have just sent the product but we wanted to make sure it was a true representation of what we do," Rulli said. "The corporate office sent us out there to make sure it got done right. Operationally, it was a home run."

The golfers were grouped as fivesomes - a foursome with one professional. Before the tournament started, Carson and his brother Jordan were playing some practice holes when Rulli noticed the competitiveness between the siblings.

"Jordan had on the knickers and matching hat and also a T-shirt that was making fun of his brother. So the brothers had a rivalry going on between them," Rulli said.

So which one was better?

"They were both killing the ball; it was fantastic to watch," Rulli said. "Actually everybody in the group hit the ball well. At one point Jordan said, 'Do you want to see my Happy Gilmore?' like when Happy runs up and hits the ball. He did it and I've never seen a golf ball go that far in my life. I actually videotaped it. It was unbelievable."

Rulli also recalled a conversation he heard between Carson and Jordan, who were talking about Cincinnati-style chili.

"Jordan asked Carson if Gold Star is a competitor of that other Cincinnati chili," Rulli said. "Carson interrupted him and said, 'Gold Star is a lot better.' He made it very clear on that."

The tournament, which drew 150 golfers to the Monarch Beach Golf Links, benefited Hillview Acres Children's Home, a residential facility that treats abused and neglected children, ages 6-18. Palmer and his wife, Shaelyn, opened the Carson and Shaelyn Palmer Cottage at the facility last year as part of an ongoing effort to rebuild the campus of Hillview.

"I spent about 30 minutes with Carson," Rulli said. "He's a genuine guy who cares about his charity. He was very thankful for the people that helped him with that golf outing. It was a great opportunity for Gold Star Chili, Carson Palmer and the Cincinnati Bengals to continue the relationship."

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