One of the greatest events of Laramie Jubilee Days is without a doubt, the Flaming Gorge Jalapeno Eating Contest.  For those of you looking for a leg up- here are five of the best things you can do to give yourself the edge in a jalapeno eating contest.

5. Stomach Expansion

Talk to anyone in the food eating biz and they’ll tell you.  The bigger your stomach, the more capable your body for insane amounts of food consumption.  Quick note- this endorsement of an enlarged stomach is in no way an endorsement of intentional obesity.  There are (somewhat) healthy ways to expand your stomach.  Takeru Kobayashi, the legendary Japanese competitive eater, consumes larger and larger amounts of food in the days leading up to an eating competition; but he regularly exercises to make sure fat does not impede the expansion of his stomach.  One famous eater, Sonya Thomas, eats at least one large meal per day, typically at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (There are numerous lunch buffets in Laramie that can help you with this one!).  Another method frequented by competitive eaters is to eat lettuce.  Large amounts of lettuce.  Eaters swear by it, claiming that it helps to increase their stomachs and some of them eat upwards of 5 heads of lettuce per day.  If you’re still on board thus far, try washing all that food down with water- some competitive eaters guzzle 3-4 gallons on a daily basis.

4. Chewing Gum

You want to chow down as much food as possible in a very short time?  You will need a strong jaw.  There are different methods for this- jaw breakers candy is one popular way; another popular jaw strengthening activity requires you to put some tootsie rolls in the fridge and then try chewing on them a few hours later.  My preferred method is to chew gum, lots of gum.  Bazooka Joe (if you can find it anymore) usually sells for five cents per piece.  Most brands now sell gum by the pack though, so that’s where you start.  No-no-no. not a pack a day… we’re training for real- one pack at a time.  The silver lining on this method is that you can choose from a wide variety of gum flavors and you can even get gum that cleans your teeth!

3. Exercise

Believe it or not, the best competitive eaters in the world are not sumo-wrestler sized walruses.  Most of the elite eaters in the world (at least while they’re not downing dangerous amounts of food in mere minutes), take care of their bodies.  In between your food training, try going for a run, doing a few sit-ups, or just taking a walk around Washington Park.  Depending on how you do in your eating competition, you might decide that eating competitions are not for you- if that is the case, you will more than likely appreciate the fact that you didn’t tack on an unnecessary twenty pounds for an eating competition that you bombed.

2. Mind-Over-Matter

Most eating competitions are timed and inevitably become a race of duration rather than a sprint out of the gate.  If you want to win, or at least be successful, the most important thing is your brain, not your stomach.  You cannot think about the food you are eating, rather, the time that you have to eat.  Eat for a time period, not for an amount.  This might be the toughest piece of advice, but also, might just be the most important, if you focus on the clock, you will be far better off.

1. Eat Jalapenos

Seriously now… Do you seriously think you can be successful in a jalapeno eating contest if you are unaccustomed to the taste, texture, consistency or hotness of jalapenos?  Have some jalapenos on your eggs for breakfast- put some on your sandwich for lunch- sit down with a jalapeno for your afternoon snack- mix it in with your dinner.  Eat as many as you can- that is your greatest tip to eat as many as you can during the competition.