Cherokee woman a finalist for ‘pizza for life'

If she wins this contest, Kendra Chapman will never have to pay for pizza again.

The 22-year-old is a volunteer firefighter for Cherokee County and is working toward a degree in fire science. One of her favorite foods is pizza, and the spicier, the better, the redhead from Ball Ground says.

On a whim, Chapman entered a contest on Facebook to create the next specialty pizza for Papa John's. She was one of 12,000 people who created a pizza choosing ingredients from a pull-down list.

"It's gotta be hot and spicy," Chapman said of her creation. "I like spicy anything always."

She was shocked when she got a phone call saying she was one of three finalists in the competition. Earlier this month, Chapman and the two other finalists visited the Lousville, Ky., headquarters for the pizza chain and got to make the pizza she created.

Now, she's vying for the top prize, which includes free pizza for life along with a slice of the sales from her specialty pizza. Whichever pizza is ordered the most times online until Aug. 29 is the winner.

Until then, she's telling everyone she knows and all of her firefighters friends to give her pizza a try.

“We have to wait until the end," Chapman said. "It’s going to be a total surprise."

So what makes Chapman's pizza special?

Chapman chose traditional tomato sauce topped with pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, jalapeño peppers and mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano cheeses. She named her pizza "The Workin' Fire" to honor all of those who make a living as firefighters.

So far this month, Chapman says she's ordered five of her own pizzas and plans to eat more.

“I love it. It’s so good," Chapman said. "A lot of people have tried it with buffalo sauce."