Digging into anything and everything that makes the CNMI tick beyond politics...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

(My Marianas) A ‘hotter’ hot pepper eating contest expected this year

Published in the February 7, 2013 issue of Marianas Variety
IT’S a contest like no other. Tears will fall and blows and whistles calling for relief will once again be seen as contestants try to relieve the stinging heat produced by chewing on hundreds of the famous Tinian hot peppers on February 16-17.
Vida Borja of the Marianas Visitors Authority Tinian said this time the contestants for the hot pepper festival will enjoy a different venue at a safer distance from the crowd, unlike the past years where the audience handed the contestants water, ice cream and anything else to help combat the stinging heat from the peppers.
Borja said the 9th Tinian Pika Festival will be at Kramer Beach. This year, the audience will be spared from crying due to the sting of hot peppers in air as the hot pepper eating contest will be held on a stage where everyone can have a good view without pushing and crowding on the contestants.
The hot pepper eating contest for male contestants will be on Saturday afternoon at about 5 p.m. while the female contenders will compete on Sunday afternoon at the same time.
Borja said that like last year, the contestants will be given a certain time limit to chew on as many red hot peppers as they can, one pepper at a time, and spit them out on a platter. A judge is assigned to each contestant to monitor the number of hot peppers a contestant chews on.
Last year’s grand prize winners for both male and female divisions chewed on over a hundred pieces of hot peppers during a three-minute period.
Corey San Nicolas grabbed the grand prize in the men’s division after chewing 110 red hot peppers while Celina King won in the women’s category by chewing 100 red hot peppers within the 3-minute time frame.
“We are still finalizing the program but we are looking at holding the same procedures for the contest,” Borja said.
In the previous year, the hot peppers were pressed and poured into a cup of noodle soup and the winners are those who finish their noodle soup the fastest.
Tinian’s annual Pika Festival or Hot Pepper Festival is being held in honor of the donni sali, the popular small but hot potent pepper that is ingenious to the island. Entrepreneurs have been successfully preserving and bottling these peppers for marketing here and off island.
Hot burgers, new features
Borja added that as a new feature, JC Café will be hosting a hot burger eating competition.
“This is a new event where the contestants will vie for the fastest time in finishing off special burgers made with special ingredients including Tinian hot peppers,” Borja said.
She added the burgers will be “hot but delicious.”
Another new feature for this year’s Pika Festival is the five-man tug of war where teams will vie for prizes.
Don’t miss out on the fun and activities as Tinian gears up to embrace another colorful and hot Pika Festival. 
For more information, please call Borja at the Tinian MVA Office at 433-9365 or email vborja@mymarianas.com, Tinian Mayor’s Office at 433-1802, Frank at the MVA Saipan headquarters at 664-3200/01, or email ftudela@mymarianas.com.
For information on how to get to Tinian, please call Freedom Air at 234-8328 or Star Marianas at 433-9998.