INDIAN LAKE - Whether it be the recent Olympic spirit or the sign of a successful Indian Lake WinterFest, an impressive turnout was garnered at Marty's Chili Nights for their fifth annual Jalapeno Eating Contest Feb. 14.
"Attendance has gone up and down over the past five years," said Nancy Harding, owner of Marty's Chili Nights. "But, we still like to do a lot for whoever shows up."
Harding was pleasantly surprised when six contestants entered this year's competition, testing their ability to eat spicy pickled jalapeno peppers in a one-minute timed event.
More than 50 people viewed the contest and each participant had their own cheering section of family and friends.
First contestant to eat her way into contest history was Jean Trabka of Connecticut. Trabka is a long-time customer of Chili Nights and enjoys the jalapenos rellenos dish. Trabka
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finished a total of eight jalapenos. Megan Murtagh of Brant Lake went next and ate a total of six.
Bob Spetla of Middle Grove shook things up by eating a new record of 17 jalapenos.
"I plan to return next year and win," said Spetla.
Ron Comstock of Central Bridge and 4-year participant of this contest improved his personal best and ate a total of 13.
Ginger Reau of Michigan attended with a large contingent of fans and ate a total of seven.
"You will definitely see me back here next year," she said.
Jamie Mitchell, surrounded by family and friends, defended his title by breaking Spetla's count and finishing a grand total of 19. He broke his own record of 12, set last year.
Mitchell won a trophy and gift certificate for two free dinners and Spetla won a gift certificate for one free dinner at Marty's Chili Nights. All participants received a certificate of appreciation and a Jalapeno pin which read, "Why Beat the Heat When you Can Eat the Heat!"