05/28/04 — The daring doughnut deed

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The daring doughnut deed

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 28, 2004 2:01 PM

It was war at Center Street Jam. Hole-y war.

The five of us lined up at the table Thursday afternoon. Each had two minutes and two dozen Krispy Kreme originals. The strategy was simple -- outlast and inhale. As they say, 'if you chews, you lose.'

And when it ended, Ray Pittman was enjoying the sweet taste of victory.

And the rest? Well, what can I say? We had been fried in the sun. Our eyes were glazed. We felt like big fat zeroes.

Doughnut-eating competitions are not for the weak of heart. Or stomach, as it turns out. No rules, no Rolaids.

I had only planned to watch the contest and write about it. But Wayne Alley, the morning host at WGBR and the emcee for the event, was having trouble getting enough contestants, so I stepped into the ring.

I'd like to say that I rose to the occasion. My first box of empties hit the ground as Alley said, "One minute." The second box followed shortly. The crowd grew quiet. Birds stopped flying, some in mid-air. The other competitors had quit to watch. As a group, they slowly began to applaud.

I'd like to say that.

But I won't sugarcoat the facts any longer.

I was served. Then I got served.

I was finishing my third doughnut when I looked down the table to see Pittman finishing his sixth.

"D'oh!" I thought. "Nuts!"

The Fates could hardly have been crueler. Pittman, who was selling sodas for the Boys & Girls Club, hadn't planned to enter the contest either but had also been won over by Alley's pleading tone and puppy-dog eyes.

"They didn't have anyone up there," Pittman said. A bunch of cream puffs, anyway.

Six was a personal best for Pittman too. And a personal last.

"I won't do that again, that's for sure," he said. That's good news for Krispy Kreme, which had promised to keep the winner rolling in the dough for a year.

As for me, I received my remaining 21 original glazed and a coupon for a free dozen, which luckily doesn't expire until December 2008.

I also carried a leaden feeling in my stomach and the hope that, in the days to come, it will pass.