The plan for this trip was to do make it a 24 hour trip. One long day. November 18, 2006. Denver to Santa Fe to Acoma and back. Here is the chronological recap:
0200 - The alarm sounds after a few hours of sleep. I roll out of bed, wake T up, and hop in the shower to help me wake up and get going.
0242 - Me, T, Honey & Max are loaded in the Aveo. Rented it. I'd rather punish a rental than the E or T.
So until we get to the New Mexico line there's a bunch of this:
0615 - we are just outside Raton, NM. The dawn breaks:
Just awesome. But more of this:
0900 - we roll into Santa Fe. We find T some Starbucks, walk around a bit and hang out on the plaza so Honey and Max can get some fresh air. Nice day.
1200 - we hit the road for Acoma. We're about an hour outside of Albuquerque and it's another hour to Acoma. The scenery on the way to Acoma is just amazing. Easily this is the most scenic competition location to get to so far.
1430 - we get to the Sky City Casino & Hotel. Hang out with Honey & Max.
1500 - we go in the hotel and find the banquet room where the event is being held. I thought it might be outside, but no. The event is the World Posole Cooking and Eating Championships so there is more going on than just the eating. Mike Castellano is there to emcee.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I think he is the best of the IFOCE emcee bunch. I have been in competitions with all of the current emcees. They all have their own style, they're all good, and you kind of know what to expect. With Mike you get a very smoothly-run event: no table confusion - you here, then you here, then here. He always huddles up, thoroughly explains the rules to the eaters, and makes sure everyone understands what's up.
Here is a look at the 1 pound bowls of posole that are being weighed and lined up. Later it is said that there is 35 gallons prepared.
Here is Michael going over things before we take the stage. The Mad Stork is at the left and Helen Haggerty is next to him.
Before the contest Kate had sent an email detailing a couple rules - part of the bowl had to touch the table at all times and the utensil had to be used. Mike reviewed the change - you could pick up the bowl but your lips or mouth could not touch the bowl and the utensil had to be used.
Helen gets set to take the stage. She leaned over to tie her shoes right as I snapped the picture:
The lighting in the room made for some crappy videos. And I also had our camera in the "good" mode instead of "best" so the photos did not come out too well. But here's one that did:
Anyone who has been keeping up knows how big a fan I am or Carlene. There is no way I can describe how great it was to get this picture!! Thank you, Carlene, you are the best!
Michael begins the introductions. There is a problem: the normal music that plays as the eaters are called up cannot be turned up enough - I guess there's no 11 - so Michael gets the mariachi band to play! For the introductions and for the duration of the competition! That's really cool! I wonder if it's a first? This again shows how smooth Mike is.
We are called up in this order:
Richard "Crosstown" Traffic (he is 65 years old!)
Frank Roblano (he is 72 years old!!)
Aurelio Gonzalez (3rd in 2004 posole contest)
Todd "The Butler" Yeates
Wild Bill Myers
The competition was 12 minutes long. The posole was good, not too spicy, the hominy was not too hard and it had big chunks of tasty pork. With the mouth rule I don't think anyone shovelled the posole in their mouth. I think everyone had a cereal technique. Albeit much faster than a casual breakfast.
In the end, it was Pat. He absolutely crushed by downing 9 pounds 2.25 ounces. But close behind him was newcomer Helen Haggerty with 8 pounds 10.75 ounces. WOW! Rich LeFevre placed third with 8 pounds 8 ounces. Erik pulled 4th and Mongo was 5th. Bill and Aurelio downed about 6 I believe. But the story was Helen. She is a recent Bryn Mawr college graduate. Helen wore her lucky field hockey skirt and a red beret.
1730 - With the festivities over, T and I go back to see Da Honey & Max. By 6pm we are on the road toward Santa Fe. Dinner. Maybe some soft serve too.
We get to the Flying Tortilla. I get a Frito Pie:
But I cannot finish it. And soft server? Not tonight.
2030 - hit the highway back to Denver.
0302 - we are back! 24:20!! I wanted to do it in 24 hours, so being 20 minutes over is disappointing. We could DEFINITELY have come in under 24. Next time. I was going to take a picture of my eyes, but I had to get sleep.
As soon as I can I will post videos of the introductions and the actual competition. There is video of the winners being announced, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRltfZyn1EQ, but it does suffer some technical difficulties for about 30 seconds.
And check out the Flickr slideshow
to see all the photos. There are more in the slideshow than here in the story.
Labels: trip report