08/20/04 — 'Fear Factor' at church

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'Fear Factor' at church

By Linda Luck
Published in News on August 20, 2004 2:05 PM

Want some worms in your mouth or to be covered in mice? Or how about a little taste of squid shake?

A group of teens put fear to the test Wednesday night at Goldsboro Worship Center on New Hope Road. With enthusiasm and courage rivaling that of contestants on NBC's "Fear Factor," the 18 girls and 26 boys lined up to compete in a local version of the television gross-out show.

The grand prize: $300.

Six contestants made the final cut to compete. Brittney Nails, Faith Mendoza, Paige Martin, Eric May, Dusty Horne and Tim Fowler were fitted with goggles and plastic caps.

Their shoulders, draped in black garbage bags, seemed to droop a little when Danny Johnson, the church's youth minister, revealed their challenge:

Move worms -- real worms! -- soaked in maple syrup from one aluminum pan to another, without using their hands. In other words, put those worms in your mouth.

The contestants who moved the greatest volume would advance to the next round.

Brittney started throwing up almost as soon as her head bent over, so she was automatically eliminated.

Paige, Dusty, Eric and Tim moved more than Faith's two pounds, so Faith was eliminated.

Eric said the mixture was kind of like "dirty pancakes." Paige said it was flat-out "nasty." But both were hanging in there for round two.

They watched intently as four blenders, four quarts of milk, and four glasses were lined up on a table.

Someone said, "This doesn't look too bad."

But then a fishy odor wafted across the room as plastic bags of octopus and squid were opened.

Barbara Newsome said the squid and octopus were cooked; she personally saw them boiling on the stove. But they looked -- and smelled -- raw.

The challenge was simple. The two contestants who drank the most of the milk, squid and octopus shakes would advance to the final round.

Dusty went first, holding his nose and drinking 3 1/2 glasses before looking for one of the plastic-lined buckets.

Paige went next. She drank three full glasses without even holding her nose. But after one or two swallows of the fourth glass, she held up her hand and headed for the bucket.

Eric managed to drink, and keep down, 3 3/4 glasses.

I'm not sure how much Tim drank, but it must have been less than 3 1/2 glasses, because Dusty and Eric were declared the finalists.

Over 180 young people were watching, and Johnson knew not one of them was going to leave before the winner was proclaimed.

He used the time between rounds two and three to talk about some of the real fears in life, encouraging the young people to turn to God for courage and comfort.

After the short message and a few songs from two bands, it was time for the final round.

When Dusty saw a Plexiglas coffin being placed on the stage, he said, "If it has anything to do with snakes, I'm outta here."

He actually looked relieved when a cage containing 100 mice was brought out.

Johnson, holding up silver handcuffs and a key ring, said, "You're going to get in the coffin and we are going to put the handcuffs on you. Then we're going to dump these mice on top of you. One of these keys fits the handcuffs. The one who finds the key and unlocks the handcuffs in the least amount of time will be the winner!"

Eric climbed in and, seemingly oblivious to the mice, unlocked the handcuffs in 16.29 seconds.

Dusty was a little less steady, dropping the key ring as the rodents crawled all over him. The clock ticked off 27.6 seconds before he freed himself.

Eric was declared the winner and given the $300 prize.

He said the worst part was the octopus and squid milk shake because he hates seafood. He said the mice were no big deal because he is not afraid of them; however he did reveal he was worried about mashing one and killing it.

Johnson said all 100 mice avoided that "fear factor" and were returned safe and sound to the pet store first thing Thursday morning.