EUGENE, Ore. - The first time I stopped in at Hot Mama's Wings, John Roberts whipped up some stuffed peppers. A pretty simple process: Remove the insides of whatever pepper you've decided to stuff, fill with cream cheese, wrap in bacon, fry and enjoy.
Roberts made up three different kinds of pepper: a Fresco, a Jalapeno and a Habanero. Not wanting to look like I can't handle the heat I went for the Habanero. I experienced a surprising amount of discomfort, but it was only temporary resulting in an experience I still consider enjoyable.
As tasty as it way, I probably should have learned my lesson then, but sometime later I competed in their wing eating contest, the Kamikaze Smackdown. Eat as many of their hottest wings as possible in 5 minutes. It doesn't seem too hard, but believe me when I say it is much harder than it sounds.
I managed to put down 5 wings, not bad if I do say so myself. Then again the guy next to me ate 22, winning the competition.
Needless to say I decided to leave the the next contest to the pros. It was one of the many attractions at the Eugene Celebration. Where many peered at the pain of others from a safer distance.
It's tough to say what motivates people to put themselves through this kind of torture willingly, but as long as Hot Mamas keeps having these contests you are sure to find those ready to seize the sear. I'm just not going to be one of them.