Hear it for the hometown hero…
A Sunday in Chicago at the La Costeña “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Challenge and the Renegade Craft Fair…
La Costeña “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Challenge
Amazingly, Nadia had this Sunday off. Also amazingly, we have the same stupid sense of what is fun in life. So, we took off to celebrate her independence (because she is Mexican) at the “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Challenge at some park I can’t pronounce in some area of the city.
We totally proved our giddy twelve-year-old competitive eating fangirl status by bypassing the alcohol and food and music and staking out the eating contest way early and giggling an awful lot and following around contestants (but mostly because we figured that they would be going to the right place).
While waiting at the La Costeña booth Nad says “Just look for the mohawk!” and then not 2 seconds later we look up and, low and behold, competitive eater Pat Bertoletti is heading our way…and then he stands RIGHT NEXT TO ME before seeing the people he was looking for. Did I mention he stood RIGHT NEXT TO ME? Did I also mention that I am a dork and can’t believe that I got this excited about competitive eating??? And the competitive eaters???? It’s just that I’ve watched them so many times eat on TV and it’s surreal to be at an eating contest in real life!
So once his crew took off we followed them, because we assumed they know where they were going. And then we held our position right in the front of the “crowd” (AKA, we were the only ones there besides, who we guessed were, Pat’s family and friends…) And then we probably made fools of ourselves by giggling and staring and they probably totally knew that we were giggling and staring…but whatever.
Oh! And Pat was totally drinking straight from a bottle of Pepto-Bismol while hanging out. And that was kind of awesome.
Once the competition was about to begin (it started late, I heard later that some of the contestants had a hard time finding the place…it WAS hard to find) a crowd started to gather.
And then it was time to begin!
Ryan Nerz, the emcee, came out to do brief bio-interviews with some of the eaters…and boy did they come out!! (Who knew that so many people would want to shove themselves full of jalapeños?!?!?! )
The lineup included Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, Rich “The Locust” LeFevre, Hall “Hoover” Hunt, and Erik The Red Denmark…just to name a few.
Pat downed chocolate milk while being introduced, which is awesome, because you know I always think the best plan of attack to being able to eat a lot is to fill up your stomach beforehand…right?
Then everyone was introduced and the countdown began (in both English and Spanish)…5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
And they were off, within seconds pepper upon pepper (and plenty of milk) were being consumed…
And after a couple of minutes a couple of them totally looked like they were going to have a reversal of fortune (aka puke) (or at least like they had rabies).
And then after six-and-a-half minutes of the eight minute competition…THEY RAN OUT OF PEPPERS!!!!
WHAT THE HELL???
So…they had to cut the contest short. Which kind of bites (no pun intended) because as in any competition there is strategy, and to change the rules in the middle kind of muck things up.
We waited and waited with anticipation as the number of peppers consumed by each contestant was tallied up.
And then…the winners were announced for the truncated six and a half minute competition (It was supposed to be eight)…
In Fourth Place: Hall “The Hoover” Hunt (110):
In Third Place: Rich “The Locust” LeFevre (120):
In Second Place: Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas (141):
In First Place…
Our Hometown Hero…
PAT BERTOLETTI!!!! (191)
Who is now, officially, the jalapeño-eating champion of the world!!!
So, it was a totally awesome experience, and my first MLE event I watched live. I didn’t get to meet any of them because I was too chicken and shy to go up beforehand, and then afterwards no one came out right away and we didn’t want to wait too long.
But did I mention that it was totally, 100%, completely, amazingly awesome?
More photos from the La Costeña “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Challenge:
Renegade Craft Fair
After the contest (and a run…OK…slow long powerwalk to Babies-R-Us) we dropped off Bryan (I don’t think I ever mentioned that Bryan came with us…eh, he’s not important) and then headed off to Do-Division Festival and Renegade Craft Fair.
So, the do-division festival was kind of very lame. There was some not-completely terrible band with no one watching them on one end, and some god-awful techno crap on the other, and a couple of generic food stands and merch tents in between.
We got some food (I had some fried raviolis and a lemonade) then headed on to Renegade.
The Renegade Craft Fair was totally cool, and I don’t think I’ve ever used the terms “kind of awesome” and “totally cute” so much as I did there.
Basically it’s a more modern craft fair…you know, no doilies or anything like that, but IPod covers and two-headed sock monkeys instead.
My only gripe is that we got there at around 8ish and they closed at 10, but a bunch of people were already packed up and gone, or were in the process of packing up. Lame.
There was so much nice stuff. I totally wanted a pink two-headed sock monkey…But I could not afford it. I also totally wanted all the jewelry from Sofia Masri. But alas, I couldn’t afford that right then either 🙁
p.s. Now you know what to get me for my birthday 😉
I did pick up a cute little cup/vase thingy with little bee on it and a “to do list” pad of paper that says “get of your ass and…” because that’s totally me.
And that was my Sunday.
p.s. Thome hit 500 yesterday. He was so saving it for bobble head night 🙁