Challengers take on 200 feet of meat and raise $6,000 for Fly Children’s Art Center at Ypsilanti’s second annual Wurst Challenge

If you weren’t at the Wurst Bar last night for the second annual Wurst Challenge, you missed a hell of a good time. Ungodly amounts of sausage were eaten, many laughs were had, and, by the end of the night, we’d raised just over $6,000 for the FLY Children’s Art Center Creativity Lab in downtown Ypsilanti. We couldn’t, of course, have done it without all of the would-be competitors who entered, the ten brave men and women who moved forward to last night’s finals, and all of you out there who threw your money behind them. Thanks to your efforts, a lot of local kids are going to benefit from art and creativity programs over the coming year who otherwise wouldn’t… I know it’s silly, but this is something to be proud of, Ypsilanti.

On behalf of everyone involved, I’d like to thank Jesse Kranyak and the staff of the Wurst Bar for being awesome hosts, supplying the 200 feet of meat that fueled the event, and donating 10-cents for every inch consumed by our ten champions. I’d also like to thank the folks at New Holland Brewing for making sure we were well stocked with White Hatter Belgiam-style W.P.A., and for donating prizes for our winners. And, of course, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Depot Town Tattoo for donating the grand prize for the competitor who ate the most sausage. And, likewise, we couldn’t have pulled it off without the folks at the Ugly Mug, who donated the prize for the competitor with the most style. This was truly a community-based event, with tons of people coming together at every level to make it happen, and I couldn’t have been any happier with the way that it turned out.

Here, told in photos taken by the great Nick Azzaro, is the story of what went down during the competition.

This is what 20 feet of coiled sausage looks like. Each sausage was weighed prior to being served, and the Wurst Challenge champion was decided not on length of sausage consumed, but on the difference in weight between sausage served and sausage returned.

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Cre Fuller limbered up outside the Wurst Bar prior to the competition. Shortly after this photo was taken, Cre was disqualified for selling brats under the table inside of buns that he’d smuggled in beneath the vestments he’d worn into the Wurst Bar. (In the spirit of the event, though, he donated the proceeds to FLY.) While the award for most raised went to Team Smoot, who brought in $815.85 for FLY, it’s now the opinion of everyone on the planning committee that it should have been awarded to Cre, seeing as how he also donated a robot to the silent auction. Had the proceeds of his robot’s sale been added to what he raised prior to the competition, and through the sale of illegal brats during the event, his total would have been $1,016, a full $200 more than Team Smoot. (Cre’s robot sold for $275.) Next year, you can be sure, the rules will be more clear. Also, it should be noted that Cre was not the only competitor disqualified for cheating. Team Cool Runnings was also removed by judges when it came to light that, instead of having just one designated eater, they had several, who gobbled up an entire 20-foot brat in a matter of seconds, like a tank full of hungry piranha.

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Jim “The Outlaw” Engman took an early psychological lead thanks to a “start at the tail and eat your way toward the head” strategy. Sadly, this strategy, while giving the illusion that more sausage had been eaten than actually had been, did not drive the other competitors to despair, causing them capitulate… When all was said and done Outlaw Jim had come in second, having consumed 2.684 pounds of sausage.

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Last year, Jason “Knifebeard SausageHawk” took home the trophy for most eaten, having consumed 16 feet of meet. (According to legend, upon arriving home after the first Wurst Challenge, Knifebeard SausageHawk then consumed the remaining four feet, which he’d smuggled from the Wurst Bar wrapped around his neck.) This year, however, our returning champion did not fare so well. He placed third. As you can see, though, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

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The night’s big winner was William Henderson, the chosen representative of a local gang known as Team Smoot. Henderson, assisted by teammates who rubbed his belly and refused to let him stop eating, consumed 3.258 pounds of sausage, leaving just the small bit you see here. (I would have loved to have seen him face-off against the Knifebeard SausageHawk of old. That would have been a battle decided by milligrams.) Team Smoot, by the way, was a machine. They not only raised a ton of money by way of social media, they then showed up to the event selling beard oil, the proceeds of which also went to FLY. Next year, I expect to see other groups organizing as teams around individual competitors. I think it’s a great model, and I’d love to see more of it… I can see companies doing it. I can see neighborhood associations doing it. I can see social organizations doing it… This is William Henderson, surrounded by his Team Smoot co-conspirators.

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I won’t shame anyone, but let’s just say that not everyone finished in the top five. Some, sadly, had to tap out after having just completed a few laps around the dish.

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And, lastly, here’s Outlaw Jim again, accepting his award for style. You can’t see here, but he was wearing a pair of tongs on his hip, in a holster.

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Not shown above, because I just didn’t have the room, are Julian Weisenel, Jason Tallant, Kate Stroud, Patric Dunn and Quinn Phillips, each of whom raised hundreds of dollars and ate multiple pounds of sausage. (They are heroes in every sense of the word.) If you have an interest in seeing them in action, I suspect more photos will be shared shortly by FLY Children’s Art Center on the Wurst Challenge Facebook page.

Lastly, it took a while, but it sounds like we’re starting to get some non-Michigan press. I saw that the Wurst Challenge had shown up on the Miami Herald last night, and now it looks as though it’s being talked about on the news in Chicago… Good work, Ypsilanti.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted March 30, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t want to share my cell phone photos alongside Nick’s beautiful shots, but here are a few that I was able to capture.

    TOP: Jason Tallant and William “Team Smoot” Henderson slowly inching toward the finish line.

    MIDDLE: Another angle on the full-fisted Knifebeard SausageHawk brat attack.

    BOTTOM: Patrick Dunn, James Engman and Quinn “The Carrot” Phillips, early in the evening.

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  2. Gary Clark
    Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    This is the best! Sorry I could not be there, but next year I promise to field a team of hungry septuagenarian renegades.

  3. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Thom Elliot was right about this event.

  4. Verlander
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Don’t count out Knifebeard SausageHawk. It’s just going to take him some time to rebound after core muscle surgery.

  5. Brooke Gates
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Just another reason why I love living in Ypsi, got to see and meet so many awesome people. I think “team eating” should be allowed, but you have to tap out WWF style and pay a fine, like $25 to do it.

  6. idea man
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t eat it from the head, or the tail. I would throw the whole thing in blender and drink it.

  7. KKT
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    What about breaking the sausages into segments next year and having the competition mirror March Madness, with people facing off in brackets?

  8. Meta
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The Courier has photos too.

    http://heritage.com/articles/2015/03/31/ypsilanti_courier/news/doc5519e84450342990077248.txt

  9. Concerned Reader
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Toadies and Sausage-phants.

One Trackback

  1. […] BREAKING FUNDRAISING LEVELS BY BREAKING ALL THE RULES… So far, Team Smoot, the group that won last year’s fundraising award, have been the most aggressive on the fundraising side of things, bringing in donations right and left for their competitor, last year’s winner, William “The Big Gulp” Henderson, seen to the right intimidating his arch rival, Cre “Master Muscle” Fuller, during a Cross Street training session. [All donations, by they way, are tax deductible, and go toward furthering the mission of downtown Ypsilanti’s FLY Children’s Art Center.] As of right now, Team Smoot has secured nearly $1,000 in donations from the likes of Sidetrack Bar and Grill, Original Moxie, Desktop Dog Creative, DartOut by Kartech, Tap Room Comedy Night, The Eyrie, Fangs and Twangs, Full Circle Bar, BrewSkee-Ball, Muse Atelier, and My Trivia Live, all of whom, in exchange for their donations, were offered advertising space on the extra-large jumpsuit that The Big Gulp will be wearing as he attempts to consume his 20 foot long bratwurst. [Last year, Henderson consumed 3.258 pounds of sausage.] […]

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