Stover smokes to win jalapeño contest

Fifty people gathered at a tent Saturday and watched three men eat.

With shaved ice for sale a few feet away and a brewery across the street, the first Hood River Saturday Market Jalapeno Eating Contest was on.

It was hotly contested. Three contestants studied the green, spicy numbers with an increasingly wary eye as they tried to eat the most peppers in five minutes.

Jerry Stover of Hood River won the event by downing 14 peppers.

Market manager Lisa Conway held the stopwatch, and inspected each stem to make sure each pepper was completely consumed. The other rule was that contestants could not drink during the contest.

With friends and strangers calling out encouragement, Stover, Dustin Hamilton of Hood River (13 peppers) and Elijah Wood of Mt. Hood (eight) rocked back and forth in front of the low table covered with jalapenos. They would bend over the peppers, examining each as if to find one lacking heat.

Stover, Hamilton and Wood alternately turned away as if looking for a way out, or looked at each other in a kind of mutual disbelief.

“He’s going for another one!” someone shouted as Stover reached for his second pepper in a 30-second stretch near the end of the 300-second ordeal.

Near the end of the five minutes, Hamilton looked like he really wanted to eat another, but his stomach and throat outranked his mind, and Stover steamed to a late finish to win.

Hamilton remarked, “I probably could have eaten another but it felt like the last one was about to come back up.”

Stover was understandably brief in his victory comments.

“Well, I like hot sauce but this is the first time I’ve been in a contest like this,” Stover said, looking like it might be the last.

When Conway handed him his prize, a sweatshirt and other gear from sponsor Full Sail Brewery, Stover replied, “can I trade it in for a cold beer?”

Wood, in last place, had the last word:

“I thought we were just getting started,” he said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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