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Students compete in Emmenecker Challenge

Story by Avery Gregurich

Photo Courtesy Taylor Vivant

emmenecker-w2000-h2000The simple instructions, “On the table before you is five pounds of humanity,” welcomed students to the Student Alumni Association (SAA) sponsored Emmenecker Challenge held Thursday at Jethro’s BBQ.

Teams of Drake students knew the rest: simply eat. And eat they did, in copious amounts.

Twenty teams sat down to the challenge hungry and judging by their slow walk through the exit, left more than satisfied. Just what did they eat?

On the surface, the teams were instructed to eat a sandwich and fries in 15 minutes. The Adam Emmenecker sandwich, though, only resembles other sandwiches in just one way: It has a bun.

Other than that, this monstrosity is a creature all its own. It weighs nearly four pounds and is constructed of pork tenderloin, buffalo chicken tenders, fried cheese balls, bacon, hamburger patty and beef brisket. The final ingredient is a spicy pickle that crowns the top of a wooden skewer, holding the stack of meat together.

A pound of waffle fries rounds out the platter, bringing the meal to a stomach-bursting five pounds of food and roughly the calorie intake of 31 cans of Pepsi.

Normally, the challenge is attempted by one brave soul.

There is an entire wall devoted to those who have bowed down to the sandwich’s wrath, including Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman; -— a man paid actual money for his ability to consume massive amounts of food.

For this event, though, teams of students shared the heavy load. So, how did they prepare for the event?

Some teams, including a four- man team named Team Sarah, ate nothing prior to the challenge. Team Pi Kapp Plus One and Team Dixon Stopovers, also four-man teams, on the other hand, came into the challenge after eating meals prior to the event.

Teams also had varying strategies for getting the food down. Some employed a fries-cheese-meat eating order and others used a dividing technique, separating the nearly 4,600 calorie burden amongst their members.

The standing-room-only crowd was thoroughly impressed and perhaps a little disgusted at the winners of the 2013 Emmenecker Challenge, The Chosen Juans.

The team, consisting of Tyler Wright, Ed Kakenmaster, Kelan Simmer, and their leader Juan Hermoza, practically inhaled the “snack” in an astonishing three minutes 26 seconds.

Visibly excited and also in a bit of physical pain, Simmer held his stomach in victory.

“I can’t eat ever again,” Simmer said, smiling all the while.

Students who were not signed up for the challenge didn’t leave empty-handed, or better yet, empty-stomached.

Free appetizers, including hot wings, onion rings and waffle-fry nachos were available to everyone in attendance.

Gwen Baumgardner, SAA Vice President of Traditions, was responsible for putting the challenge together. She felt that the event was an incredible success.

“We doubled the teams from last year,” Baumgardner shouted over the crowd as students were scarfing down behind her.

She also said SAA actually had “to put a cap on it” and turn a few late applicants away from the challenge.

Teams only had to pay $5 to enter the challenge, hardly a fifth of the regular price of the Emmenecker sandwich on a normal day.

The rest of the money came directly from the SAA budget. Baumgardner said this is a small price to pay for students bonding.

“This is a busy time for people, but we wanted to do something fun,” Baumgardner said.

Long known as a Drake University ally, Baumgardner said Jethro’s BBQ was a willing host for the event.

“Jethro’s was really accommodating,” Baumgardner said.

Several times she called the gathering a “hangout,” which it undoubtedly was.

Students from all grade levels, fraternities, sororities and a few alumni were present, enjoying the food and atmosphere, making it a true Drake “hangout.”

There are no plans for slowing down this event in the future.

“We want to keep doing this,” Baumgardner said. “This is a Drake tradition.”


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