11 participate in pepper eating contest
Those that don’t believe hard work pays dividends need to hear the story of Brian Peoples.
Peoples, who finished second in last year’s inaugural jalapeno pepper eating contest, sponsored by Jacksboro Newspapers, began training for this year’s contest about six months ago, trying a different method.
“I began using habanero peppers which are much hotter than jalapenos,” Peoples said. “I would eat about 3-4 of those a day, thinking if the habanero burn didn’t bother me, the jalapenos wouldn’t either.”
The mindset worked as Peoples shattered last year’s mark of 17 jalapenos set by Ken Hargrave with a 19 jalapeno performance Saturday night at the event, which is part of TNT Fest. For his effort and training, Peoples won $300 and received congratulatory hugs from his kids.
A full house or full lawn of people watched the event outside the band stage at Lake Jacksboro. Many offered encouragement to their favorite competitor but others stood by in absolute awe.
One fan, who called herself Tawnee, said she had thought about taking part but when she saw the amount of bags being unloaded and given to the competitors, said she was glad she begged off.
“I’ll stick with my tea,” she said with a chuckle.
A dozen competitors took to the tables before the event, a couple deciding the fire and heat was too much for them as time approached. The event was delayed about 15 minutes to the band starting late.
Peoples was pushed to the end by first time competitor Fidel Lopez. The 2017 JHS graduate, who appeared a bit nervous throughout the three-minute contest but wound up eating 18 jalapenos, said he was able to get through the experience and net $150.
Brian Culwell finished 3rd with 15 jalapenos.
Other competitors were Dusty Powell, Kevin Baker, Payton Smith, Sydney Smith, Justin Barton, Brandon James Martinez, Desirae Eden.
The event judges were Mayor Alton Morris, Jacksboro Chamber of Commerce President Hannah Reynolds, Sheriff Tom Spurlock, Jacksboro ISD Athletic Director Brannon Rogers and Doug Angell.