By Stacy Hinojosa
In grand Thanksgiving tradition, approximately 150 people gathered in the lobby of Stover Hall last week to see the annual Stover StuffFest, an all-you-can-eat Stovetop stuffing standoff.
According to Ricky Rowley, a senior and a resident assistant in Stover Hall, the StuffFest dates back more than ten years.
“We”re carrying on the tradition, but we don”t know when it began,” said Rowley who has overseen the StuffFest for the past three years. “We just do it because our forefathers did.”
The rules of the event, which took place on Nov. 17, state each contestant starts with three cups of stuffing on their plate. Competitors have ten minutes to eat as much as they can, if they finish the three cups, an additional cup is given to them, one plate at a time.
The winner is determined by who eats the most stuffing without throwing up in the process, an outcome that is so frequent, part of the event”s preparations includes securing enough throw up buckets for each contestant.
Evan Ottesen, a freshman from Albuquerque, N.M., managed to eat 6 1/2 cups of stuffing without spewing, making him the 2004 StuffFest champion.
“It doesn”t sound like a lot, but when you”re full, it”s a lot of stuffing,” Ottesen said.
Ottesen attributed his victory to the way he was brought up.
“Whoever finishes first has the next shot at seconds, so we”re just real fast eaters at my house,” Ottesen said. “My grandma, she doesn”t chew her food, so we all say that she has teeth all the way down her throat just to chew.”
To prepare for the challenge, Ottesen said he didn”t do much; he even ate a dinner of ice cream and rice crispy treats that night.
“I wanted my stomach to be empty, but not to the point where, like when you”re fasting, it starts contracting and getting small,” Ottesen said.
Ottesen”s win is even more surprising considering his aversion to tiny breadcrumbs.
“I hate stuffing,” Ottesen said. “Had this not happened, I wouldn”t have eaten stuffing for Thanksgiving to begin with. I”m not going to eat any now anyway. I just eat fast and figured I could put it to good use.”
Ottesen said his ability to stuff himself with stuffing was purely psychological, adding that he didn”t even chew it.
“It was pretty nasty when that guy threw up,” Ottesen said. “That really didn”t make me sick, but it made most of the audience want to give it up. If I was going to throw up, it would be from the food in my stomach, not from watching him.”
That guy was Nick Alletto, a freshman from Parker, Colo.
“I actually ate 5 1/2 cups and was on my sixth cup when I lost it,” Alletto said.
Alletto vomited his stuffing back on to his plate; an experience he said was both relieving and upsetting.
“He didn”t want the throw up bucket,” Rowley said. “It”s kind of odd, it”s a mystery.”
Alletto, an offensive lineman on the BYU football team, said after he”d lost his giblets, he said he dug deep and tried to finish, an effort which meant eating the stuffing he”d just regurgitated.
“I consider myself the toughest of competitors,” Alletto said. “It was apparent to me that the only way that I could win was to start over and try to empty my plate.”
Alletto, who described his second helping of stuffing as a little acidic and not solid, said he has had stuffing since and plans to eat it this Thursday.
“I”ve got some pretty good intestinal fortitude,” Alletto said.
Rowley said an additional three contestants threw up this year, the most puking he”s witnessed in StuffFest history.
“This one was intense,” Rowley said, a condition he attributes to the amount of people in attendance and the fact that there was the added pressure of a time limit. “We get the most people to come out to this activity than any other one. We all get together and cheer each other on and laugh at each other and have a good time. I”ve just watched it to many times to want to participate.”
Ottesen will have his name engraved on the StuffFest frying pan, which sits in a place of honor in the Stover Hall office.
It is bonding,” Rowley said. “Nothing brings guys closer together than watching each other throw up.”