Ypsi’s third annual Wurst Challenge raises over $6,000 for FLY Children’s Art Center, sends me running to the hospital, and propels Team Smoot to legendary status

The third annual Wurst Challenge, by all accounts, was a huge success. Records were broken. Over $6,000 was raised for FLY Children’s Art Center. And, perhaps most importantly, all ten of our competitors were still ambulatory by the end of it. No stomaches had burst open. No ambulances had to be called.

I’d like to tell you more about how the competition went down, but I had to leave just as the 20 foot long sausages were being served. As luck would have it, I’d come down with a stomach bug earlier in the day, and, by the time the competition rolled around, I was in unbearable pain. According to the health care professionals I’d talk with later that night at the hospital, and over the next several days at my doctor’s office, two opposing forces were fighting it out in my guts. On one side, we had the fact that I’d put way too much flax seed in a smoothie, which apparently sucked all of the moisture from my guts, leaving boulder-like chunks of fossilized waste clogging my intestines. And, on the other side, I likely got food poisoning from eating left over Indian food. The result, as you might imagine, was intense. My body was trying to purge everything, but, as the same time, I was sealed up tighter than Fort Lee under a pissed off Chris Christie. As a result, my guts apparently began spasming out of sequence, resulting in hours of unrelenting abdominal pain like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I somehow drove myself to the hospital at 2:00 AM, where, after an hour of crying and pacing around the lobby, I was admitted, drugged for the pain, and scanned. The good news was that no organs had been damaged. The bad news was that I’d be dealing with the aftermath for the coming several days, as my insides slowly starting coming back online… So, if I was short with you at the Wurst Challenge, or you wondered why I took off so abruptly, it’s because I felt as thought I was being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach. [And, yes, it’s taken me three weeks to tell you this. That should give you some sense of just how terribly I felt. And, I should add, I’m still dealing with the ramifications today. Apparently, as a result of whatever happened that night, I came down with something called Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome, which came with its own challenges that I won’t get into here.]

But, let’s not talk about my colon. Let’s talk about the colons of our ten heroes, who, unlike me, stayed and fought for Ypsilanti’s children… Knifebeard SausageHawk, The Big Gulp, local music legend Jim “Colonel Mustard” Cherewick, world renowned roboticist Cre “Master Muscle” Fuller, homeless advocate Quinn “Fill ‘Er Up” Phillips, artist turned thespian Caleb “Night Man” Zweifler, esteemed Eastern Michigan University history professor Russ Olwell, Buck Von Thundergut and Yacob from Ann Arbor tech behemoths Duo Security, and HookLogic respectively, and DaQuann “007: Quann’tum of Sausage” Harrison from Ypsilanti Community Schools. Because of their heroism, dozens of local kids will have an opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary hands-on workshops, camps and events this summer designed to bring out their creative potential… And that’s awesome.

And, of course, none of it could have happened without out sponsors: Ypsilanti’s Wurst Bar, Lagunitas Brewing, The Rocket, Kyte Metalwerks and everyone who donated on behalf of one of our competitors, including all of the local companies, like Sidetrack Bar and Grill, Original Moxie, Desktop Dog Creative, and Muse Atelier, who purchased advertising space on the extra-large jumpsuit worn by The Big Gulp, as he cruised to his second consecutive Wurst Challenge victory representing the local cult known as Team Smoot.

The following images come courtesy of from the Nick Azzaro, of the Chin-Azzaro Studio.


[The sausages are weighed and served. Had I not survived the night, this would have been my last positive memory of life on earth.]


[Team Smoot rallies around The Big Gulp in his advertising-covered jumpsuit as he fires himself up to attack what remains of his 20 feet of meat.]


[A masked Knifebeard Sausagehawk looks on in disbelief as Cre Fuller, who snuck into this year’s competition dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder, whips a bag of buns from beneath his petticoat and begins selling his sausage by the foot for the benefit of FLY.]


[Shappy Seasholtz, who just moved back to Ypsilanti after years in exile, was tapped to take over as MC in my absence. By all accounts, he did a masterful job.]


[The Big Gulp predicted before the event that he would complete his sausage this year, and he came perilously close. Team Smoot, whom The Big Gulp represented, won all three trophies, by the way. They won for the most sausage consumed, the most money raised, and the audience prize for style.]

Again, I’m sorry that it took me this long to write and say “thank you” to all of you who participated. I should have done it weeks ago. Every time I sat down to write about the event, though, my thoughts turned immediately to my guts, and I just couldn’t do it. I promise to do better next year. You have my word.

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  1. Posted June 7, 2016 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    So if you abuse a blender, it might abuse you back.

  2. Steven Holt
    Posted June 7, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    So the only person to wind up in the hospital was the one that didn’t eat the sausage?

  3. Anthony Meza Wilson
    Posted June 7, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    My takeaway is that sausages are healthier than flax seed smoothies.

  4. Shane Davis
    Posted June 7, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I actually want to try this and see if the same will happen to me.

  5. Julie
    Posted June 7, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Was it ground or whole flax? I want to know.

  6. Posted June 7, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    There was actually some of both. I was to flax seed what Kurt Cobain was to heroin. Seriously, there was tons of it in my system. Enough to kill a lesser man.

  7. Posted June 7, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    And there were likely other contributing factors, like the fact that I’d just gone back on wheat and dairy after a full month off. (I was eating Indian pizza.)

  8. karen
    Posted June 8, 2016 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    we were really rooting for the flax seed. maybe next time.

    it was great to see team smoot win. i’m just sorry no one got punched in the face.

  9. anonymous
    Posted June 8, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Have you considered talking with a therapist, Karen?

  10. Bob
    Posted June 8, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    “Indian pizza?” Wtf? Bastard food should not be trusted under any circumstances.

  11. Westside
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Where’s the picture of Mark with the – can’t enjoy sausage anymore – meme? This is all so confusing.

  12. Felipa
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I want to have the baby of next year’s winner, please.

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