TURBOTVILLE — The Warrior Run varsity baseball team will team up with the Watson Inn for a fundraising event tomorrow in the form of a chicken wing eating contest to help raise money to cover expenses for the team’s upcoming trip to The Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, SC at the end of March.
With 26 competitors already signed up for the contest and only four more spots available, Warrior Run head coach Harold Raup had some words of advice for any would-be participants: come hungry.
This is no ordinary chicken wing eating contest and the winner is not determined by how many wings are consumed. This contest will be decided by the total weight of chicken wings eaten over the course of two rounds.
Each semifinal round will feature an even number of competitors — Raup expects registration to fill up, so there will most likely be 15 competitors in each of the first two rounds — and the top two performers from each semifinal will advance to the finals. The Watson Inn will prepare all of the chicken wings and each competitor’s portion will be weighed before and after each round.
“Baseball is a playoff sport so it’s only right that we have a playoff format for this competition,” Raup said with a laugh.
According to Haup, the inspiration for the event came after Warrior Run assistant coach Matt Burrows participated in the Northeast Snacks 5th Annual Middleswarth Potato Chip Eating Contest in Exeter last November.
“We were thinking along that line (of a potato chip eating contest) and we thought, ‘Hey, why don’t we have a wing eating contest to raise some money,’” Haup said. “And that’s what this is all about, having some fun and raising a little bit of money.”
The Defenders traveled to The Ripken Experience in 2018, but did not make the trip prior to last season strictly for financial reasons, Haup said. However, with the help of the community and several local companies which have donated items for the Chinese auction, the Warrior Run skipper believes that enough money can be raised so that the players who assist with the fundraiser can focus strictly on playing baseball once they’re in South Carolina.
“We go every other year for the simple fact that it takes a lot of money for us to be able to do this as a team,” Haup said. “If the kids participate in the fundraisers, they don’t pay anything to go. The only spending money they need is if they want to buy a shirt or a gift for someone while they’re down there. We provide everything else you could think of.”
While in South Carolina, the Defenders will participate in The Ripken Experience’s “Spring Training” program the week before they’re set to open the regular season. In 2018, Warrior Run played teams from New York and New Jersey and will likely face some out-of-state competition again this time around. The competition will not count toward the team’s overall 2020 record, but will provide a gauge to see where the team is as it heads into the new season.
The trip south, which will allow the Defenders to play and practice outside the gym on an actual baseball field, is the biggest bonus according to Haup.
“First of all, we can be outside. Getting ready for the season up here, we don’t get to be out on the field that often,” Haup said. “They have first class facilities to practice in and play games on, it’s just first class all the way around. We practice twice a day, we play games. You get so much more accomplished when you’re down there for the simple fact that you can be outside at least a couple of times a day.”
For tomorrow’s event, Haup said that a number of local companies and private collectors had donated items and baseball memorabilia as items for the Chinese auction. The Watson Inn and Dunkin Donuts are just two local business which have already contributed.
Registration will begin at 1 p.m. and the contest itself will begin at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Warrior Run baseball head coach Harold Raup at email@example.com.