University Chicken has a few locations in the Santa Clara area, and they've also got their own eating challenge. The 911 Hotwings Challenge: Eat 12 of their hottest 911 Hotwings in 10 minutes or less. Beat the challenge and you'll get a free shirt and your picture up on their wall of fame. Many have tried, only a few have succeeded!
On Friday, Alex James, from my group at work, took on a challenge that no one thought he could handle. Near Santa Clara University, a small restaurant that specializes in hot & spicy chicken wings hosts a food eating contest that only involves twelve wings (wingettes and drumettes counted as two separate wings). The 911 Challenge at University Chicken doesn't sound so bad, but Alex definitely met his match... and prevailed.
The wings sold at University Chicken range in hotness on a scale from Mild and Traditional to Global Thermonuclear. Beyond this scale are the special wings prepared specifically for the 911 Challenge. The rules are quite specific:
1. Nothing to drink before or during the contest.
2. No napkins at anytime during challenge including the 5 minute period after eating them.
3. Must lick clean any sauce on hands before 5 minute timer starts
4. Must eat the chicken off and to the bone (Manager must approve)
5. Participant has 10 minutes to eat 12 Wings. Once finished must wait an additional 5 minutes to win a T-shirt
6. Must sign release form
Alex ordered his 911 Challenge and waited peacefully while the wings were being prepared.
When the wings arrived, they were a dark brown - almost black - color. The coating on the wings was more paste than sauce. They definitely looked completely unappetizing to me. With the clock starting when Alex sat down, he wolfed down the first wing quickly and without effort.
At first, Alex didn't show any visible reactions to the spiciness of the wings, and I thought it would be an easy contest. However, after his second wing, he began to hiccough. His body was informing him that he was eating very spicy food (as if his burning fingers, numb lips, and fiery mouth weren't enough warning alarms).
After four wings, Alex slowed down. He mumbled something about the wings not being very appetizing (I think he said they were "disgusting"). A layer of sweat was coating his forehead and his body had stopped hiccoughing.
At a rate of about one a minute, Alex steadily made his way through the first ten wings. The last two proved difficult, but at the nine-minute mark, in a demonstration of willpower overcoming the self-preservation instincts of his body, Alex quickly removed the meat from the bones, chewed, and swallowed.
With less than one minute remaining, Alex quickly sucked the clumps of spicy paste off his fingers and forced himself to swallow the subsequent ball of black gunk.
The five minutes of waiting were excruciating as Alex willed his body to keep the food down. During this time he could not drink anything, nor could he use a napkin.
As soon as five minutes were up, a cheer erupted from our party and the sounds of clapping from the patrons of the restaurant followed Alex to the bathroom where he disappeared for quite some time.
Alex received a free T-shirt and posted his picture up on the Wall of Fame.
Later in the day, back at work, a couple of Alex's fingers were still numb from holding the hot wings and his stomach would not stop bothering him. Physically, he was exhausted and drained. He also mentioned that the challenge cost him $11 and the cost of the wings was not reimbursed by University Chicken as we had earlier believed (we had forgotten to ask).