The challenge consisted of only one round, but was broken up into four heats of five people. The contestants were each given three wings and weren't allowed to have any liquid while they ate. To add to the torture, the brave eaters had to wait thirty agonizing seconds between the second wing and the third. Once the final wing was consumed, contestants then had to rest for five minutes before the challenge was complete. T-shirts with a quote from Dante Alighieri's "Inferno" section of the Devine Comedy on the back were awarded to those who completed the challenge.
The wings, provided by Wing Hut, were sauced with a mixture of Ghost Peppers and Trinidad Scorpions, which have a Scoville rating of over one million units. By comparison, jalapenos land anywhere between about 2,500 and 8,000 on the Scoville rating system, which measures the heat in chile peppers.
Throughout the challenge, some of the heat-seekers gathered around a table plated with many of the raw peppers used in the Wingferno Challenge sauce. Sliver by sliver, they tasted each one, building up from least to most spicy.
Dry Dock owner Kevin DeLange was one of these sweat-subscribers. "It's a huge endorphin rush," he said, comparing it to recreational drug use. "It's a natural drug of sorts. It's kind of an upper. It releases endorphins. You'll feel sad tomorrow because your body only has so many endorphins it can release at one time."
Two people destined to feel melancholy today was husband-and-wife combo Tyler and Lyssa Walborn, who seemed to lead the charge all day Sunday. They were in the first "heat" of the Wingferno Challenge and went straight to the table of highly rated Scoville peppers after devouring their wings with ease.
"You know it's good when you start getting lightheaded," Tyler said.
After the challenge concluded, there was much chatter about tweaking the rules next year in order to make it more of a contest with a resulting winner. DeLange was open to suggestions but maintained there will indeed be another challenge.