Oct 102004
 
Authors: Erin Skarda

Andrew Palacios and Paul Munzenrider stared at the table,

mentally preparing themselves for the task ahead.

With plastic fire hats on, they took a deep breath and shoveled

the first bite of chili into their mouths. Immediately their eyes

filled with water as they struggled to take the next bite.

Palacios and Munzenrider were among the 130 participants at the

second annual Residence Hall Chili Challenge last week. Each day,

students gathered at the Corbett Hall dining hall to test their

taste endurance for spicy chili.

To complete the challenge and win the “I Survived the Chili

Challenge” T-shirt, students had to finish an 8-ounce bowl of chili

that was progressively hotter each day, with only one bottle of

water to drink. On the last day, participants also had to eat a

habanero pepper, one of the hottest peppers in the world.

Palacios and Munzenrider finished off their portions quickly and

then went to get ice cream.

“My eyes are watering, my nose is running, but I survived,” said

Palacios, a freshman biology major.

Munzenrider, a freshman with a double major in music and

business, said the hottest chili on the last day was intense.

“It was really, really hot. My lips and tongue are still burning

like crazy,” Munzenrider said.

CSU Housing and Dining Services and Poudre Fire Authority hosted

the event to promote Fire Prevention Week.

“It’s a great way to get to meet and mingle with students at a

positive level as opposed to during an emergency,” said Ryan

Thomas, a PFA firefighter. “It’s a good way to bring fire service

and dangers to the front.”

Deon Lategan, director of Residential Dining Services, said the

organizers recruited guest contest judges, including Mayor Ray

Martinez, football head coach Sonny Lubick, athletic director Mark

Driscoll and other high-profile staff members.

“(The challenge) has been very popular,” Lategan said. “We had

quite a few students drop out and some add in late. We even had one

student come in and eat four bowls to make up for the rest of the

week.”

Lategan said he thinks the event was more successful than last

year with co-sponsors such as Tabasco and Aquafina. Next year, he

hopes to make the event even larger.

“We’re definitely going to continue this,” Lategan said. “We

hope to collaborate with other areas such as the police department.

It’s a good opportunity to have these departments come in and show

the non-professional side.”

Ken Quintana, director of fire safety at CSU, agreed the event

was a success.

“The students have been great. The firefighters are having fun

and more got to come and visit with the students. All week there’s

been at least two (firefighters),” Quintana said.

While most of the participants thought the chili had a kick,

Harrison Filas, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said he

was expecting it to be worse.

“It started off weak, didn’t get much stronger, and finished off

with a mild boom at best,” Filas said.

He still plans to return next year and joked that he hopes the

chili will be hotter.

“I had a good time,” Filas said. “It was not as bad as I

expected. Next year they should make it an actual challenge,

though.”

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