Officer, civilians put stomachs to test at Blue Earth County Fair
By Mark Fischenich
Free Press Staff Writer
GARDEN CITY Ã¢Â€Â”
Travis Lapham of the Blue Earth County SheriffÃ¢Â€Â™s Office provided a feel-good moment for people attending the Blue Earth County Fair Saturday.
For people suffering some guilt about eating the chili cheese fries at the 4-H stand or the deep-fried cheese curds at the snack wagon or the chili cheese fries and the deep-fried cheese curds, Lapham outdid them in calories and fat intake. And Lapham managed to do it in less than seven minutes.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI feel really good right now,Ã¢Â€Â Lapham said, just minutes after winning the doughnut-eating contest.
There was little indication Ã¢Â€Â” other than a quiet belch Ã¢Â€Â” that heÃ¢Â€Â™d just downed a dozen glazed doughnuts in six minutes and 30 seconds.
A water patrol officer, Lapham was the only law enforcement representative in a contest that was created about 10 years ago by the sheriffÃ¢Â€Â™s office but now is an open-class event. It started as a challenge by the sheriffÃ¢Â€Â™s office to the Mankato Department of Public Safety.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThey were less than enthused,Ã¢Â€Â said Will Purvis, a retired deputy and investigator whoÃ¢Â€Â™s now a county commissioner. Ã¢Â€ÂœI donÃ¢Â€Â™t think they saw the humor in it that we did.Ã¢Â€Â
The Mankato officers, in fact, refused to show up for a contest that played into the stereotype of the doughnut-eating cop.
But some Lake Crystal officers in the audience agreed to step in and wound up beating the deputies.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWe won the next three years in a row,Ã¢Â€Â Purvis said.
One year, Lake Crystal sent its canine unit to the competition. The German shepherd didnÃ¢Â€Â™t win, however, as his human handler protected the well-trained crime-fighting asset from the threat of too many fat-pills.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThey let the deputies eat whatever they want, but the dog they have to protect,Ã¢Â€Â laughed Paula Purvis, WillÃ¢Â€Â™s wife.
While the event is now open to civilians, Lapham made sure the law enforcement community continued to have doughnut-eating bragging rights. He attacked the doughnuts with a steady but relentless intensity even as eaters on his immediate left and right chewed to an early lead.
When Lapham finished his fourth doughnut, heÃ¢Â€Â™d topped the fat level of the chili cheese fries. When he swallowed his seventh, heÃ¢Â€Â™d surpassed the amount in a basket of cheese curds. When he took the final bite of No. 12, standing up and pushing both fists into the air in the universal pose of athletic triumph, heÃ¢Â€Â™d eaten the caloric equivalent of the chili cheese fries, the cheese curds and three and a half root beer floats Ã¢Â€Â” combined.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI donÃ¢Â€Â™t think IÃ¢Â€Â™m going to eat any dinner,Ã¢Â€Â said Lapham, who handed his $20 Kwik Trip gift certificate to second-place finisher Zach Carlson, 16, of Lake Crystal.
That meant the Carlson brothers had wracked up $35 in gift certificates after Alex Carlson, 15, won the kidsÃ¢Â€Â™ division. In that preliminary event, Alex downed a half-dozen doughnuts.