Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Young Life Wing Fest

Our area recently held a 'Young Life Wing Fest.'  We wanted to share some things we wish would've done differently and some things that went really well. Overall, I highly recommend doing an event like this! 

The event was billed as an area-wide competition between schools. Each school could enter a team of 5 eaters. Each contestant paid $10 and was guaranteed a minimum of 15 wings and a drink.

Round 1 
75 mild wings (averaging 15/person)
15 minutes (averaging 1 wing/minute)
We wanted to make this round fairly doable so most teams would get to advance. 

Round 2 
50 medium wings (averaging 10/person)
8 minutes (averaging 1 wing/48 seconds)
This round was more challenging and a couple teams dropped. At this point each participant will have eaten around 25 wings.

Round 3
25 HOT wings (averaging 5/person)
5 minutes (averaging 1 wing/minute)
These wings were HOTT and guys were hurtin', a couple more teams dropped, but 4 teams made it into the finals. We probably should've done 30 wings in this round to make it more difficult to reach the finals.

Round 4 
10 INFERNO Wings 
Each team chooses their best eater to represent the team. First guy to eat all 10 cleanly wins for his team. It was a photo finish for us.  


Things We Learned
  • When the wings came out of the kitchen, they were too hot (temperature, not spicy) to eat. We needed to allow a little time for them to cool before starting the round.
  • We lost $ on the event. Wings are expensive, and even if you score a great deal at a restaurant, guys will still eat more than the $10 entry fee. Next year we want to get event sponsors and put their logos on the shirt. 
  • Next year we want to make t-shirts to sell at the event. We'll probably charge $20/person and that includes wings, drink, and t-shirt. We might keep it at $10 and just sell shirts to participants and spectators. Who doesn't want another sweet YL shirt? 
  • We needed a few unbiased wing inspectors. Two area leaders were dressed in afro wigs and ref jerseys with whistles, but when it came time for the finals, they had to judge how cleanly eaten a wing was and both leaders had guys from their school in the finals. It made it too controversial.
  • I've seen this done as a camp fundraiser where guys get sponsors per wing they eat. Eat 35 total wings, get 10 folks to sponsor you $1/wing, you earn $350. No brainer. The only drawback is it could eliminate kids who are not going to camp, but it wouldn't have to, fundraising could just be an option.
  • We held the event at 3pm on a teacher work day. Few restaurants are big enough to host 100+ kids at a peak meal time so it's best to do it at an off time. Next year I think I'd like to do it on a school day, right after school, in the week between Winter and Spring sports.
  • I wish I'd ask someone to be a designated photographer and videographer. Would have been fun to show pics/footage at club the following week. 
  • We're considering hosting 6 different WingFests for each high school in our area in the fall with the winning team from each school advancing the the Regional Championships in the spring. Could even be a fun event to compete against other surrounding YL areas on a Saturday afternoon.
  • For prizes we awarded the winning team shirts from Buffalo Wings & Rings. Wish we would have made trophies with chickens on them to hand out. It also would be fun to take a team picture, frame it, and hang it in infamy on the wall of the YL office. One day 'Wing Champ Wayne' would eventually join the YL Committee. He'd bring his kids by the office to show off his glory days back when he was 40lbs lighter and 40 wings heavier

What about you? Have you done a similar event? What pointers can you share? Please email us or comment below and we'll add your advice to the post.     

Received this text from one of my high school friends a few hours after the competition. He finished in 2nd place.

Posted by Drew Hill.

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