“Bigger and better” can be an overhyped phrase in marketing, but it’s true when applied to the 22nd annual Soup R Bowl fundraiser for the Humane Society of the High Plains.

This year’s event will add more space, larger signs, vendors and T-shirt sales along with the soup-tasting, door prizes and raffles.

The Jan. 27 event is the animal shelter’s sole fund drive, and last year, the HSHP board sought feedback from attendees.

“The first thing we heard is it’s gotten a bit crowded,” said Board President Alicia Tripler.

In years past, the Soup R Bowl has taken place at the Ellis County Fairground’s 7,500-square-foot Schenk Building, but this year, the connected Unrein Building will also be rented, offering another 6,600 square feet.

“We’ll be able to spread out, so there’s a little bit more room for the lines,” Tripler said.

The extra space will also allow for attendees to easily browse the door and raffle prizes, as well as visit vendor booths, which are new this year.

“Some local businesses, instead of making a soup, are going to have a booth set up to talk about how their business relates to pets,” Tripler said.

HSHP T-shirts will also be sold for the first time this year, and the names of businesses and the soups they made will be easier to see.

“We’re going to display larger print behind each booth what the soup is, so if there are particular soups you want to have, you can find what you’re looking for. You don’t necessarily have to try all of them,” Tripler said.

Fifteen chefs have signed up for this year’s event, but last year’s winner, Fur is Flying, is not among them. The pet grooming business took the Golden Ladle trophy in 2018, giving it a new home for the first time in four years after Doug and Cathy Pfannenstiel of Auto World decided to sit out the competition.

“It’s anybody’s game this year,” Tripler said.

“There were a variety of people in the Top 5 last year that are returning,” she said.

Crawford Supply is one of those. Brent Colley, along with Mark Junk of Horizon Appliance and Electronics, will again be making their sweet brisket chili, which was popular last year.

“We ran out about 55 minutes into the event,” Colley said.

They will bring double the amount from last year, he said, and he thinks they could have a good chance of winning.

“If it’s as good as it was last year, I think we have a pretty good shot. But Mark and I have fun doing it. We just like seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces,” he said.

Tickets at the door will be $8. Advance tickets for $7 are available at the following locations:

• Cerv’s, 2701 Vine, 2722 Hall, 3701 Vine, 1601 Main

• Petsense, 2508 Vine

• Barkley Suites, 2202 Vine

• Big Creek Veterinary Service, 2807 U.S. Highway 183 Bypass

• Fur is Flying, 700 E. Eighth

• Hays Veterinary Hospital, 1016 E. Eighth

• Hillside Veterinary Clinic, 5250 Vine

• Humane Society of the High Plains, 2050 E. Old U.S. Highway 40