About 50 kids took their turns diving face-first into chocolate pudding pies this weekend at the Grundy County Corn Festival during the Pie Eating Contest Saturday afternoon.
“Are you hungry?” Contest Chairman Sue Morse asked the first group of children. “Ready ... Set ... Eat!”
The contest was broken up into four age categories: 5- and 6-year-olds, 7- and 8-year-olds, 9- and 10-year-olds, and 11- and 12-year-olds.
The contestants had to keep their hands behind their backs while eating their pies and could not get help from their judge. One judge stood behind each of the children as they ate.
Before the youngest group started scarfing down their pies, Morse encouraged them to flip the individual pie tins over with their teeth, freeing the pie from the tin completely and then start munching.
“You have to eat all of the pie,” Morse told the kids. “All of the whipped cream, all of the chocolate pudding and all of the crust.”
As the children chomped at their pies, parents and other audience members cheered them on.
“Don’t cheat, just eat,” one crowd-member yelled while the pie-eaters got whipped cream on their noses and all around their mouths.
The first person at the table to clean their plate won $5. The second person to finish received $4, and the third one to complete their pie earned $3.
Rosie Beal, Tyler Sinclair and Dakota Goff earned the cash prizes for the 5- and 6-year-old group. Joshua Oxley, Patrick Stroup and Lucas Poett earned the prizes for the 7- and 8-year-old group. Kodie Darling, Grant Hoffmann and Jackie Keeton won in the 9- and 10-year-old group, and Payton Knott, Andy Williams and Ben Posego took the top three spots in the 11- and 12-year-old group.
“Because there was pie,” Goff said about his reason for entering the contest. His pie tasted good and he plans to enter another pie eating contest eventually.
The tables were full during the first three rounds of the contest, but their seemed to be less interested this year from the 11- and 12-year-old crowd. Only about a half dozen kids showed for that category, Morse said.
“As long as the kids come and eat pie, we’ll have it,” Morse said about the smaller-than-expected turnout.
The lower amount of participants in the older age group meant there were extra pies to go around. Morse said she handed out extra pies to crowd members and had four special ladies add a competition of their own.
After the groups had taken their turns, Corn Festival Queen Natalie Cash of Gardner South-Wilmington High School and her court competed against each other.
“It was just funny,” Morse said. “Those pretty girls smearing their faces with chocolate pie.”
Morse said overall this was one of the best Corn Fests ever.
“It was just magnificent. I have never seen so many people in this town that I did not know. We’re obviously reaching out and people are coming back,” she said.