For those of you who didn't make it or got here by accident here's the story:
I'm not sure who spotted it first, but about three years ago the Archbishop Dave Smith gets hipped to this group back east who are having this little annual get-together during which they binge themselves on that most terrifying of confections; the Marshmallow Peep. These folks were packing down upwards of 30 or so Peeps--an unimaginable number for someone like myself who can only choke down one or two of those horrible things annually.
The rules of the contest were simple: choke down as many of the marshmallow monstrosities as you could in 30 minutes. That's it: nothing else could be eaten nor could contestants drink anything.
|Tired of this horseshit? Can't say that I blame ya. Check out the pictures from the start or from the thumbnail index.|
The Archbishop is a funny guy, in the broadest possible context of the word, and decided that this sounded like Good Fun and set off on firing up the first Sacramento Peep Off. Dave managed to get a rider added to the rules, just for the Sacto contingent: Pabst could be used as a wash for those contestants wishing to. The governing body decided that this was okay since, after all, it was Pabst we were talking about here.
I personally missed the first contest, smacking as it did a bit too much like a drinking contest from my college days which scars me to this very day, as well as falling on the same day as Picnic Day (a hard call to make in the days of the fistulated cow and the doxie derby). In that first year Richard Hansen managed to choke down 63 peeps, nearly doubling the record of the time. The group that started the original peep-off never did post the national results for that year and their website disappeared soon thereafter. They were, no doubt, taken aback by some serious goddamned competition.
The Archbishop once again led the Peep Off in 1998. While the hype before hand was great, the contest was not nearly as pitched as it was the year before. No records were set, nor was there really any question that they records were in any peril. Richard Hansen won for a second year in a row and kept his title as master of the peeps.
In 1999, with the Archbishop relocating to parts west, it looked like the Peep Off was in peril. At the last minute, Sacto News & Review writer Amy Paris offered up her place as the site for the contest and the event was on. Amazingly, it looked like Hansen would sit this event out in retirement, neither competing or even showing for that matter. His record seemed safe, though: the only serious competition he'd had wouldn't be competing this year and all seemed well.
|Other peep's Peeps|
|Dave Ninja has both his and Amy Paris's recollections of things o'er at http://www.dgweb.com/~dninja.|
From the ranks of Richard's State Net co-workers there came the first notes that there might actually be a serious competition underway. Dennis Gross claimed that, in his first such outing, he'd show up and not only compete but be able to pack down 75 Peeps!
Seventy-five Peeps! The number seemed unimaginable. Richard Hansen had only packed down the 63 peeps by force of will and had been chugging along the entire time. Surely this was pure bravado on Gross's part. I knew Dennis fairly well, having worked with him for a number of years now, but I didn't think that he'd even attend such an event, much less actually pack down that many...or threaten to anyway.
The event was held on April 10, 1999 on a very unspringlike day that threatened rain. My roommate and I schlepped downtown from the burbs about ten minutes before the contest, parking in what seemed at the time to be cherry up-front parking. Despite the proximity to the event, there was no sign of the event's organizer--would Smith also be a no-show? Meanwhile the pre-game festivities wore on with much cajoling of the non-competitors, Pabst drinking and other behavior which I'm sure the Just Born folks would find questionable at best.
Everyone was wearing their finery for the event. Ms. Vicki came as the Peep Queen, replete with tiara and livery. The Reverend Ed showed up as the peep cowboy (sans hat tho). The Archbishop pulled up with a load of peeps and he too was wearing his finest black dress filled out with a pink Peep bustline--very charming spring attire.
Not that Dave needed to bring Peeps, mind you. Robert and DeeAnn had, alone, brought 600 or so peeps. Dennis had brought a personal stash, as had a number of other competitors. Dave brought well over one thousand peeps, making for quite a huge stash.
The competitors took their places and the contest was under way. The rules in recent years had relaxed in light of the fact that Sacramento was the lone known surviving Peep Off and competitors washed down peeps with the favored Pabst, Old Milwaukee and the occasional cigarette. Dennis opted for diet soda, the only comestible outside of WOW! Chips and rice cakes that I've seen him consume with regularity. Vicki opted for the highly unconventional dipping sauce approach, using spiced rum to soak the peeps before consuming them.
Dennis was showing signs that he might actually break the 63-Peep threshold without difficulty. As most contenders tried to pace themselves, Dennis managed to keep to a rapid pace, always consuming the demonic foodstuffs. Dennis had pulled away from most of the competition * and neared the mark in record time.
True to his word, the normally quiet and reserved Dennis matched and beat the standing record and went on to consume all 75 peeps with about 10 minutes to spare. He still had to keep the peeps for the duration of the contest and the five-minute cooling off period--his stamina would be tested when fellow competitor Bill (no, not me you fools) decided that he'd had enough peeps in his system and was going to share them with the pavement.
Now I've seen some champion-class puking before, but this took the cake. Not only did Bill loose the peeps, but at someone's suggestion consumed more peeps in an attempt to get a nice color wheel going. Robert decided that this was a good inroads to collaborative art and floated representatives of each of the peep clans as well as a few cigarette butts in the mash.
Through all this Dennis managed to keep the peeps down and was encouraged to go for a few more to push his record even higher. As time was called Dennis had finished a total of 81 peeps and didn't seem much the worse for wear. He was proudly crowned Peep King (complete with peep crown) and took a congratulatory phone call from the dethroned Richard Hansen. He seemed less than thrilled with his prize date with Jason Patrone or the bottle of Night Train that accompanied said date--Jason, however, hit the Night Train right off.
If the Y2K bug doesn't reduce society or Just Born to a quivering mass, will there be a Peep2K? Will Dennis return? Will Dave return to Sacramento for another hurrah? All remain to be seen..
The pictures from the 1999 event start here and run chronologically. There's also a thumbnail index to feast yer peepers on. Some of the same folks might be found in some other shots I've taken recently or at the other bullshit I've put up.