Bring on the heat!

Annual jalapeno eating contest celebrates National Hispanic Month.

ann Hayes hopped out of his chair in joy, shouting pridefully, feeling a little pain on the side, as he finished in first place for the annual jalapeno eating contest. Others around him remained seated in defeat as they began to feel the heat scorch their mouths. Spectators gathered around the Seward County Community College student union to watch students take on the challenge of consuming the hot peppers.

The contest was part of Hispanic Heritage month celebrations on campus. Wade Lyon, director of student life, along with the TRIO Center, hosts several different activities throughout the month that go along with the celebration. Some of the activities include letting students color “coloring pages” for wall murals in the library, having Spanish word scavenger hunt posted in the hallways and the jalapeño eating contest. 

Twelve students received a ziplock bag full of seven ounces of jalapeño peppers and one serrano pepper. It only took Hayes 30 seconds for him to declare the crown and prize.

Seward County Community College students prepare to see who can eat 7 ounces of pickled jalapenos in just one minute.
(Brooklynn Bauer)

“It burns!” Hayes exclaimed moments after the competition ended.

Hayes, a freshman, explained that he was “skeptical at first” but as the competition started his thoughts were “Wow, this is easy.” He won $100 that he said he would “throw it into [his] college bill.” 

Third place winner Alma Garcia, a sophomore majoring in architecture, agreed with Hays that the spice went up a notch after swallowing.

“The pepper started to [take] effect during the end of the competition,” she said. Garcia won $50 which she “plans on saving.

The second-place winner, Kenia Melendez, a freshman in cosmetology, shared a different opinion on the peppers and the competition. 

“I just kind of did it [and] didn’t really care,” Melendez said.

She explained that she was actually doing it for a friend. On the topic of the pepper, she said it “wasn’t spicy.”

One student who didn’t place in the top three thought she could’ve done better if the peppers weren’t so big. She was only able to down three of the pickled peppers.

“I’m used to spicy, [but] if they were thin I could’ve swallowed more of them,” Monalisa Chakraborty, sophomore business administration major, said.

Lyon announced another student activity scheduled for Oct. 6. He will host a cornhole activity in front of the Student Union building to kick off the month of October.