Wurst Challenge III: May 22

On the evening of Sunday, May 22, competitors from across the northern hemisphere will once again face off in the shadow of Ypsilanti’s historic water tower to attempt the impossible… to see whether or not they can succeed where others have failed, and force an entire “20 Feet of Meat” down their gullets as crowds of onlookers both taunt and cheer.

Two years ago, when the challenge was first issued, it captured the imagination of folks around the nation. People were talking about it from San Francisco to Colorado Springs. Photos ran in the Washington Post. A story ran on Fox News. A reporter from the Associated Press even called part-way through the event just to ask how much sausage had been consumed thus far. And, toward the end of the evening, the good folks at the ABC affiliate in Detroit sent out a news crew to check up on us and make sure that we were alright. Here, in case you missed it, is the footage.

And, not only did we get a lot of incredibly good press for Ypsi, demonstrating just how much people in this community love to dress up in silly costumes and swallow ungodly amounts of smoked meat for a good cause, but we raised quite a bit of money for a great cause.

The first Wurst Challenge brought in $7,737 for Ypsilanti’s FLY Children’s Art Center, so that FLY could start up their now vibrant Creativity Lab in downtown Ypsilanti. And, last year, we raised even more, allowing FLY to do even more outreach in Ypsilanti’s schools, where art budgets over the past several years have been cut significantly.

And now it’s time to do it again. The third Wurst Challenge will be held Sunday, May 22, at Ypsilanti’s Wurst Bar, and it promises to be bigger and more outrageous than ever.


Here’s the press release:

May 8, 2016

WURST CHALLENGE III announced for Sunday, May 22 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Sausage-loving philanthropists square off to take on 20-foot bratwursts for a good cause.

FLY Children’s Art Center, in corporation with the Wurst Bar, Lagunitas Brewing Company and Mark Maynard.com, will host the third annual Wurst Challenge on May 22, 2016. The event, a fundraiser for FLY’s Creativity Lab in downtown Ypsilanti, will pit sausage-loving philanthropists (including local luminaries such as Wurst Challenge I winner Jason “Knifebeard SausageHawk” Youngs) against an imposing 20 feet of delicious, freshly made bratwurst.

Each challenger will be seeking community financial support through the FLY Children’s Art Center website, with proceeds going toward the expansion of FLY’s ongoing creativity education initiatives in downtown Ypsilanti.

“FLY packs quality creative experiences into children’s minds the same way that we pack quality meats into an all natural casing,” said Jesse Kranyak, the owner of Ypsilanti’s Wurst Bar, who will be serving up the two-story tall bratwursts.

On May 22, starting at 6:00 PM, each challenger will be served a 20 foot long bratwurst, which he or she will attempt to consume in its entirety, in hopes of defeating the likes of Jason “Knifebeard SausageHawk” Youngs, the winner of the first Wurst Challenge, who will be returning in hopes of regaining his title. The Wurst Bar has generously offered to donate “10 cents an inch” to FLY for all sausage consumed by the panel of challengers. In addition, challengers will use social media to raise funds from friends and supporters. [Doors will open at 5:00 PM.]

Prizes will be awarded to the challenger who raises the most money, the one who consumes the most bratwurst, and the “audience favorite”—the individual to attack his or her brat with the greatest sense of style. Among other things, winners in each area will win a trophy constructed by Kyte Metalwerks. [The trophy for “audience favorite” can be seen below.]

“Last year’s event was incredible, and we’re excited to see it happen again,” said Linette Lao, a board member of FLY. “The funds raised will go to offer scholarships, grow our outreach in local schools, and to sustain our Creativity Lab, which is becoming a destination in Ypsilanti and attracting kids from across southeast Michigan. The Wurst Challenge is our biggest annual fundraiser, and the funds we raise between now and May 22 will allow us to offer innovative camps and workshops where young people can discover, play, invent and develop self-confidence.”

Cre Fuller, one of the first to accept the challenge this year, had the following to say when asked why he’d signed on. “I’m overjoyed at the prospect of eating large amounts of delicious sausage from the Wurst Bar for a good cause. As an artist, Fly Children’s Art Center means a lot to me. And, I can think of no better way to support it, as I love eating sausage almost as much as I love art education,” he said. He went on to say that it’s not all glamour. “The scope of this event, the brevity, the sheer gastronomical weight of it all weighs heavy on the brow of the contenders,” he says in a moment of seriousness.

Those not directly participating in the Wurst Challenge, are encouraged to attend to cheer on their favorite participants, and enjoy what promises to be an awesome event for sausage eaters and non-sausage eaters alike. [The Wurst Bar will provide tofu apple bratwursts for non-carnivores.]

“It took thousands of scientists and millions of dollars to put a man on the moon. What we accomplished when we launched the Wurst Challenge, I think, was more significant,” says event coordinator Mark Maynard. “With only a skeleton crew, and not a dollar of taxpayer money, we created not one, but ten 20-foot-long sausages. No one thought that a small group of Ypsilantians could succeed where so many renowned sausage scientists had failed, but we did it. And, yes, in spite of the press coverage, and the fact that we’ve now done it twice, some people still don’t believe it. Some still claim that it was an illusion. And that, in part, is why we’ve decided to go back and attempt it one more time. We want to prove to the doubters that it wasn’t a fluke, or a trick – that we really do have the technology, the intellect, and the courage to create sausages four times longer than the human intestine.”

In addition to everything else, Lagunitas Brewing will be donating proceeds from the sales of their Undercover Shutdown Investigation Ale. during the event to support FLY.

Kurt Anschuetz, the captain of Team Smoot, which has placed in both the international Rock Paper Scissors championship in Toronto, and the International Dreidel Spinning championship in Brooklyn, New York, had the following to say about their participation in the Wurst Challenge. “Members of Team Smoot love FLY, and we fully support their mission in the community. That’s why, each year, we put forward one of our members to compete. We were very happy to have won last year, but we feel even better about the funds we’ve raised for FLY. Last year, in addition to raising the most money in pledges, we also took the opportunity to sell beard oil at the event, giving those proceeds to FLY as well. And, this year, we intend to go one step further by selling corporate sponsorships, and having our challenger show up in an NASCAR-like jumpsuit, displaying the logos of the companies that have backed our team in the Wurst Challenge.”

For information on how to sign up for the Wurst Challenge, or to contribute on behalf of an existing participant, visit the FLY website.

If you would like to enter the competition yourself, it’s not too late. Just fill out the entry form, and start asking your friends, family and co-workers to back you. The ten contestants raising the most in the way of donations will then move forward to the challenge itself.

FLY Children’s Art Center believes that the ability to solve problems with creativity fuels a healthy community and enables kids to build bright futures. Since 2009, FLY has provided hundreds of kids with powerful, hands-on, creative experiences in free after-school workshops across Washtenaw and Wayne counties. The FLY Creativity Lab, (76 N. Huron Street in downtown Ypsilanti, inside the Riverside Arts Center) launched in 2013, brings interdisciplinary workshops, camps and events to area youth.

Oh, and please share this post with your friends, especially if they have tons of money to donate to an awesome cause… or own a television station.

Here, for those of you who are curious, are a couple of photos from years past, followed by an image of one of this year’s trophies.




This entry was posted in Art and Culture, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Sweet Jesus!

  2. Eel
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    If you’re looking for a pro, I’m told that the brother of Ypsi’s Joe Bertoletti is none other than Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti.


  3. Mr. X
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Can you pleas play Bessie Smith’s “My Kitchen Man” at this year’s event?

    Here are the relevant lyrics.

    “Oh, his jelly roll is so nice and hot
    Never fails to touch the spot
    I can’t do without my kitchen man

    His frankfurters are oh so sweet
    How I like his sausage meat
    I can’t do without my kitchen man

    Oh, how that boy can open clam
    No one else is can touch my ham
    I can’t do without my kitchen man”


  4. site admin
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The Facebook event page:


  5. Billy LaLonde
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I Want My Sausages! – Fawlty Towers


  6. Wurst
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Amarillo, Texas is on it!


  7. Brian Little
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I still feel like this contest should involve fighting a giant anthropomorphic sausage in hand to hand combat.

  8. Jason Youngs
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Mark, what are the odds of getting one of these live broadcasting capsules for each competitor? Get an inside look at the stomachs battlefield.


  9. site admin
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    A response from Mr. Maynard:


    We were planning on just putting holes in you so people could look inside. This might be a cleaner, less costly and more elegant solution, though. Thank you.

    Here’s what I had been planning on doing:

  10. Jason Youngs
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Ha. Like the Mackinac Island legend, Alexis St. Martin.


2 Trackbacks

  1. […] I’d like for you to consider getting involved in some way, shape or form in this year’s Wurst Challenge, our big annual fundraiser for Ypsilanti’s FLY Children’s Art […]

  2. […] sausage through the streets of Ypsilanti yesterday in anticipation of Sunday’s third annual Wurst Challenge benefiting the work of FLY Children’s Art […]

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