A natural. Expected, planned on, anticipated.

Just like campaigning and elections, or springtime and hay fever. Or, ice cream and hot fudge, peanut butter and jelly or vegetables and dip. Things that naturally go together.Count on campfires and hot dogs as another predictable pair. You can add to that a troop of Boy Scouts (but be sure to multiply the number of hot dogs).

The number of hot dogs multiplied to an enormous number - 1,200 - as the first prize was awarded to Troop 1166 at the recent "Grand Hot Dog Cook-off" Contest sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America.

What does a Scout troop do with 1,200 hot dogs? Even the hungriest of Boy Scouts would have difficulty eating that grand prize. Tri-Miller Packing, donors of the prize, didn't intend to cause Scouter indigestion - the company wanted to provide financial support for the Scouting effort. Troop 1166 will organize a fund-raiser, share the hot dogs and raise money to sustain troop activities.

Activities for Troop 1166, West Jordan, center on cooking. Besides taking the grand prize in the Scout-o-Rama Cook-off, the troop also garnered top honors at the Park City International Jamborall with a recipe for Cous-Cous.

Rob Thomson, one of the troop's adult leaders, admitted, "I love to cook, but honestly, the secret to a successful campout is the food. When the meals are fun to prepare and good to eat, the rest of the trip slides into place."

Thomson's enthusiasm is contagious. By testing a few novice ideas with the troop, the boys adjust recipes to their personal tastes.

Take the hot dog prize winner, "Snoopy's Fajita Franks," for instance. Thomson confessed, "Coming up with a unique and flavorful recipe for hot dogs presented a considerable challenge." Brainstorming with troop leaders Dan Crookston, Ray Slack and Mike Mehl, a Mexican idea was born. Scouts Danny Hardman and Ryan Rasmussen contributed their ideas. Fajitas became the competition recipe-substituting hot dogs for chicken or steak.

Imaginative contest entries were not limited to Troop 1166. Troop 6547 created a "Kamikaze Dog," Troop 3826 dipped up a "Hot Dog Sundae," and a "Hawaiian Volcano Dogs" erupted from Troop 3100.

In addition to Scouters' cooking, more than 750 troop displays filled the Salt Palace exhibition halls and yards at the Scout-o-Rama. Approximately 15,000 Scouts participated in the one-day event, making it the largest Scout show in the country and the focal point of Scouting in Utah.

Snoopy, the show's mascot, led a parade as the Scouts marched in to begin their activities.

Other events that drew a record crowd of more than 60,000, were a Charlie Brown Look-Alike Contest, the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby finals and the diwsplay booths. Displays and demonstrations included flag history, Indian face painting, woodworking and rope bridge building.

It's natural for a Scout to be filled with curiosity, to seek out adventure, and to experiment. It's odds-on predictable for a Scout, young or older, to be hungry. Most any food will fill a Scout, but a hot dog concoction is a natural prize winner.

*****

Recipes listed:

Hot Chicken Pita Sandwiches

Dutch Oven Cobbler

Son-of-a-Gun Stew

Super Moist Corn Bread

Chicken Quesadilla

Scrambled Hot Cakes

Snoopy's Fajita Franks

Dutch Oven Chicken Cordon Bleu