Thursday, July 21, 2016
Though the Ranger Field fundraising is cooling down, the Gaslight Restaurant’s fundraiser was heating up with a wing-eating competition last Saturday afternoon. In June, Turtle Town of Hill City challenged the Gaslight Restaurant in Rockerville to continue the Ranger Field renovation fundraiser. After brainstorming several options, owner Cathy Little Bull landed on an idea by Hill City School teacher and coach Chad Ronish — a wing-eating competition.
“It was all Chad Ronish’s idea,” Little Bull said. “He planted the seed.”
Last Saturday afternoon, eight brave men tested their taste buds by enduring the Gaslight’s contest, which consisted of six, eight-minute rounds where contestants were challenged to consume six wings of increasing spiciness.
Ronish was unable to participate in the actual competition due to a scheduling conflict, but he did stop by the day before to contribute his fee and do a trial run on the contest.
“The Gaslight is a favorite wing establishment of a lot of folks,” he said. “We thought it would be a lot of fun.”
Ronish made it through four of the six rounds.
Hill City Middle School principal Blake Gardner, Rico Simental, Phil Uecker, Levi Brunmaier, Ryan Usera, Luke Moore, Dexter Johnson and Will Two Lance all competed in the actual challenge.
“It’s all for charity,” explained Gardner. “I know I’ll probably only eat one round of wings but it’s for a good cause.”
Fellow Hill City entrant Simental was much more enthusiastic about the wing-eating part of the competition.
“It's a wing eating contest and hot wings are my favorite food,” Simental said. “I wouldn’t turn that down. If the world was ending at 4 p.m., I’d still be here.”
Hill City’s final competitor Uecker had a more even breakdown of the wing-eating challenge.
“Well it’s a $30 entry fee. I figure $10 because I’m hungry — I just hiked Harney Peak — $10 because it’s a good cause — I live right next to the track — and $10 because I figure it will be pretty entertaining,” he explained. “So as long as I make up my money on those things it will be an afternoon well spent.”
The competition started with mild wings followed by hot wings in round two. Round three featured a barbeque chipotle sauce, round four was ghost pepper wings and round five had Diablo wings. The sixth round concluded the regular contest with Diablo’s Ghost wings.
The three surviving competitors then continued on to a wing-off with an unnamed wing that was hotter than the previous six. Moore of Rapid City was the individual champion devouring 20 wings in the 10-minute session. Moore had never attempted a spicy-food-eating competition before but his strategy appears to have paid off.
“I was just trying to get them down as fast as possible and then recover,” he said.
The Gaslight raised a total of $262 during the wing-eating competition. The wing entry fees, half of the afternoon’s special wing price and $1 for every Budweiser or Bud Light sold during the afternoon, were donated to reach this amount.
“Honestly, we’re kind of disappointed in the turnout,” Little Bull admitted. “We had only three people from Hill City and eight total. We were expecting a lot more.”
The Gaslight would like to challenge Chute Roosters Museum & Restaurant to keep the fundraiser going.
“I think as a community it’s just impressive how many businesses and individuals have stepped up to help raise funds for it,” summed up Ronish “(The Ranger Field renovation) is just going to be a great thing.”