Fressin’ at the fair: From wings to Jell-O, there’s an appetite for competition

By on September 21, 2016
Laura Sensenig and Rod Redcay pose to regain their “image” status while wingonator, Nelson Groff dusts off his bib after his big win. Photo by Michele Walter Fry

Laura Sensenig and Rod Redcay pose to regain their “image” status while wingonator, Nelson Groff dusts off his bib after his big win. Photo by Michele Walter Fry

Eating contests drew large crowds at the Denver Fair — providing fair goers with the opportunity to see the crème de la crème of the community stuff their mouths at high speed while masking their faces with remnants of food that didn’t make the cut.

The 18th Annual Celebrity Hot Wing Contest did not disappoint. Every year, there is a rivalry within the contest between the mayor and the newly crowned Miss Denver Fair.

“I’ve never had a hot wing before,” said Laura Sensenig. “But I’m not too concerned.”

Last year it was thought that Mayor Rod Redcay “let” the queen win because it didn’t look like he was trying, eating only 13 wings.

“Are you kidding me?” said Redcay. “I did try, I even tried to count the number of wings! I can’t have that happen again. I have people watching her and they are going to be telling me how many she eats.”

“Cheater!” cried Sensenig, although she “sweet-talked” Adam Conahan, the owner of Wild Wings and provider of the wings,” to “throw her some mild ones.”

“I have to do what I have to do,” said Redcay.

This year, the mayor elected an “agent” to help him. Bob Galgon, who doubled as fair security, said Redcay was hard to coach.

“He should drink two full milkshakes to coat his stomach, but he’s not listening,” said Galgon.

“I’m lactose-intolerant, so I don’t think that’s going to be a good one for me,” joked Redcay.

His ‘agent’ was worried Redcay was telling this to a reporter because it could “affect his image.”

“If people think he has a health problem, he’s not going to get elected next year,” said Galgon.

Sensenig broke the queen’s record by seven wings.

“They weren’t even that hot,” said Sensenig.

Nelson Groff, wingonator, won first place for the eighth consecutive year.

“I love power eating,” said Groff.

He ate 42 wings, and his record from a previous year is 56.

“The wings were a lot bigger this year,” said Lorrain Kolber, event chair.

Second place went to Jim Horning from Crossfire Youth Ministries. Third place was Keith Weaver from Harvest Fellowship.

Redcay, representing REAL Life Community Services, bested Sensenig by two wings.

Also participating were Sheldon Brubaker, representing Boy Scout Troop 115; John Shuman, representing Henry Schein; and Mike Arment, Schoeneck Lions Club.

In the Jell-O Eating Contest, contestants had two minutes to eat as many bowls of Jell-O as they could.

“They cannot lift the bowl or lift their hands other than using their hand,” said Donna Rineer, chairperson of the event.

To make it harder, contestants were given a cheap plastic fork with which to eat.

The late Peggy Showalter, a former Denver Borough secretary, civic volunteer, and Denver Fair advocate, was the leader of the event from its beginning.

“Peggy passed away this year and that’s and why we’re having this in memory of her,” said Rineer.

“Peggy Showalter contacted me last year saying she could no longer do it,” said Rineer. “She said if I didn’t do it, no one probably would. I was a judge for other years.”

Olivia Voler, a senior at Cocalico, was going for her fifth straight win and was pumped.

“I don’t know if I want to reveal my secrets,” said Voler. “Power through it. If you want to throw up, keep going.”

“I don’t like Jell-O and last year I kind of threw up in my mouth a little bit, but I signed up again,” said Kathryn Voler, sister of Olivia, showing her support.

The winners were:

12 and under: Jacob Vanfleet, first place; Harley Vanfleet, second place; Matthew Figueora, third place.

13 to 18 winners: Olivia Voler, first place; Caleb Grebill, second place; Dave Cadichon, third place.

Adult winners: Eric Vanfleet, first place; Ray Crooks, second place; Josh Fravel, third place.

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