Buffalo Wild Wings contest for Food Bank of The Golden Crescent
May 3, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.
Four contestants competed against the clock and each other Thursday evening to eat as many steaming wild wings covered in hot buffalo sauce as they could.
The contest was part of a fundraising event for the Food Bank of The Golden Crescent. The prize for blazing through the most wings in four minutes: a basket of gift cards and other Buffalo Wild Wings goodies.
Decked out in red, white and blue sports warm up bands, a bandana and sun glasses, Mark Besancon geared up for the contest - ready with a water fan to help him cool off when the heat rising from the wings was too much to bear.
The wings were coated in the restaurant's fourth hottest sauce, aptly named hot.
The veterinarian from the Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center said his strategy was to psych out the other competitors and get himself in the zone.
Besancon was joined in the competition by fellow Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center employee, Heather Best.
The only woman in the competition, Best pinned her hair back with bobby pins to keep from coating it in the buffalo sauce from the wings.
While Thursday's proceeds benefit The Food Bank of The Golden Crescent, Buffalo Wild Wings has a fundraiser for the pet adoption center every Tuesday.
"If we bring people out for the eating contest, maybe we can get them to come out and donate for the animals as well," Best said.
A third contestant, Eric Tinaeus, works at the Caterpillar plant and also catches 5- to 6-foot rattlesnakes with his father for the "Rattlesnake Republic" show on Animal Planet.
Tinaeus had not trained for the wing contest. The most he'd eaten in one sitting was 18 - and that wasn't on a clock.
"I'm guessing in six minutes, I should be able to do about 20 or 25," Tinaeus said.
But when the time limit for the competition was cut down from six to four minutes, Tinaeus remained optimistic.
"Anything to help out community causes is good to be a part of," he said.
Clay Crockett, of the Clay Crockett and the Shotgun Riders band, had no idea how many wings he could eat in four minutes.
"I like wings," Crockett said. "But I don't know how fast I will be."
Crockett and Besancon enjoyed playful banter as they waited for the competition to start.
"I think he's gonna be a tough one to beat," Crockett said.
When the four competitors were given a basket of 25 wings each, Crockett turned to master of ceremonies Gary Moses.
"Where are your wings?" Crockett asked. "I thought I was going to get to beat you, Gary."
"They would kill me," Moses said. "I can smell the heat from here."
The signal was given to begin and Besancon was the first to polish off a wing.
Bones stacked up on the platter in the center and the competitors munched down for four minutes, with brief breaks for a sip of water from the tall glasses provided.
The audience counted down the last 10 seconds of the competition, which left the cheeks and fingers of each competitor coated in buffalo sauce.
Tinaeus was declared the winner, eating 13 wings in the allotted four minutes.
Throughout Thursday, Buffalo Wild Wings donated 10 percent of each meal ticket at the request of the customers to the food bank as a part of Buffalo Wild Wings "Eat Wings Race" franchise-wide fundraiser.
Jeremy Marshall and Megan Smith decided to participate in the charity while they ate dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings on a date night.
"Why not?" Smith asked. "We're fortunate to be able to go out to eat."
"We're also fortunate to be able to help someone else in need," he said.
Another Thursday night patron agreed.
"It feels good to be able to give back to the community while you're still enjoying yourself with your friends," said Patsy Hysquierdo, who was eating dinner with three others. "It's good because they're a profitable business and they're able to give back to an area that is always in need."
The diners at Buffalo Wild Wings were entertained by Ballet Folklorico dancers and live bands.
The results of Thursday's fundraiser will be tallied Friday, but Ryan Manning, manager of Buffalo Wild Wings, said the fundraiser had a successful turnout.
"Pretty much everyone out there is going to give back 10 percent," he said.