By Kelsea Campbell
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, UNH’s very own Sigma Alpha Epilson embraced the holiday spirit and hosted the fraternity’s first ever pie eating contest this past Sunday afternoon.
“This is the first one, but hopefully it becomes an annual thing. It’s hard to get people in the school to participate. That’s why we want this to happen year after year so everyone knows when it’s gonna take place. It’s gonna get bigger and bigger,” said Aaron Van Handel, member of SAE and contributing coordinator of the event.
The event was put on in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the fraternity’s philanthropy. SAE charged $20 per competing team and $3 per spectator. All proceeds will be given to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“The goal philanthropically is to raise more money than previous attempts and continue to grow and promote what organization we are trying to benefit,” said senior SAE brother Sam Rainey.
Teams of four were given an apple and blueberry pie to gobble down as fast as possible. They were given the choice to be timed solo or to compete head-to-head with another team. The catch of the contest was that each contestant had to devour the festive dessert with their hands behind their backs. Competitors were also given an optional glass of water.
Immediately upon entering at 1 p.m. guests felt the energy of the event from the warm greetings and loud music. Ryan Holloran, member of SAE and brand representative of Vineyard Vines for the UNH campus, set up a table adorned with the company’s sunglasses, lanyards and foam whale hats by the front door of the fraternity house for guests to wear.
The main event took place in a room adjacent to the front hall. SAE prepared the showdown with two square tables surrounded with four chairs, one per team member. Spectators surrounded the area with phones in hand, snapping photos of the intensity.
One team especially prepared for the matchup was Phi Mu Delta. The four representatives from the relatively new fraternity found the SAE Pie Eating Contest’s Facebook page, and took advantage of the event as an opportunity to meet new people and support a good cause.
When asked if a victory was on PMD’s horizon, team member Patrick Serven answered with, “is that even a question? We wouldn’t have shown up otherwise.”
Despite the unbeatable attitude, PMD fell short. About 15 other teams chewed and swallowed for the champion title, but SAE’s very own Rick Bailey, Gerson Lai, Mike Dunkley and John Buechel trumped the competition.
“It’s all for the kids. We didn’t go out to win, we went out to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network, and that’s exactly what we did. We want to thank all those who donated and competed, a big showing from KD and PMD,” said the winning team’s Rick Bailey.
About 100 enthusiastic spectators made the chilly trip to support their hungry colleagues. From what started as white disposable tablecloths were now speckled with blueberry stains and crumbs by the end of the 2-hour event.
“The event was a success and a stepping-stone to what we are trying to achieve as a fraternity,” Rainey said.