Three memorable moments in Beau’s Oktoberfest activities history
As part of the ramp-up to the 10th year of Beau’s Oktoberfest, we’re taking a look at three of the most significant moments in the activities portion of the festival’s history.
words: taylor campbell
Patrick Goes the Distance
Men’s Sausage Eating Contest – Beau’s Oktoberfest 2016
It was 5:30 p.m. on that Beau’s Oktoberfest Saturday, and the popular Sausage Eating Contest – an event in which competitors are required to eat as many sausages as they can in 10 minutes – was set to momentarily begin on the activities stage.
It would be no ordinary sausage eating contest. Among that evening’s 10 competitors were Eric Harrison, the Oktoberfest 2013 sausage eating contest winner with 14.5 sausages, and François “The Alaskan Crusher” Deslauriers, a two-time champion who scarfed down 18.5 sausages two years prior. All eyes would undoubtedly be on them.
The signal was given and they were off. Harrison began the competition by standing up, a technique which allowed him to “slide sausages down his throat like a duck” says Eddy Earwigg, Beau’s graphic designer and emcee of activities. There was no stopping him.
The Alaskan Crusher likewise rose to his feet, and it wouldn’t take long before the two were neck and neck.
And then there were three: an unknown competitor also stood up, seemingly taking the two champions head on, and was catching up to them at an unstoppable pace.
“I kept asking him his name but his mouth was so full of sausages that I couldn’t understand him,” explains Eddy.
But eventually, in between bites, the man with no name finally managed to articulate “Patrick” into the microphone. “So we called him ‘Mouthful Patrick.’”
By this point, Mouthful Patrick was closing in on The Alaskan Crusher, leaving the 2013 champion Eric Harrison behind in the greasy dust, along with everyone else.
“The crowd was literally going insane,” recalls Eddy.
In the end, both the unexpected and unthinkable had happened: The Alaskan Crusher and Mouthful Patrick had tied for the win – both had consumed 10.5 sausages – and Harrison had lost.
It was the first tie in Beau’s Oktoberfest sausage eating history, and the only way a clear winner would be chosen was through an “eat off,” which meant two more sausages each, and no time limit.
Mouthful Patrick, staring down at his plate with a nauseated look on his face, seemed unable to eat the sausages in front of him. The Alaskan Crusher, on the other hand, seized on the opportunity and ate both of his before Patrick could even finish one.
It was all over. The Alaskan Crusher won for a third year in a row, but not without a fight, and Mouthful Patrick had gone the distance.
Men’s Stein Hold Struggle – Beau’s Oktoberfest 2013
The Stein Holding Struggle is a Beau’s Oktoberfest staple. The premise is simple: hold a full stein of beer in front your body with a straight arm for as long as you can, and the last person standing is the winner.
As emcee of activities, Eddy Earwigg knew that he wanted to do something special that year. His idea? His cousin Will would cheat in the competition using an arm brace, and he would expose him to the hundreds of people in the audience.
On the day of the event, Will showed up wearing a large sweater with his homemade contraption hidden underneath. He signed up, made his way to the activities stage, and took his spot alongside 19 other competitors.
He was handed his stein of beer, and on Eddy’s count of three, Will locked his device under his sweater in place. His arm was now straight as a board.
As the minutes went by, one by one people began to drop out of the competition. Guys who looked bigger and stronger than Will couldn’t handle the pain, but he seemed unstoppable.
“I looked over at Will, and pretending not to know him, I used the microphone to ask him what his strategy was,” recalls Eddy. “He responded with ‘practice makes perfect.’”
Eventually it came down to two contestants: Will and someone named Stephane.
Eddy decided to make his move. He approached Will, ripped his sweater open, and exposed the arm brace to the audience.
“After I did that, I looked at people in the crowd, and some were genuinely mad at Will, chanting ‘shame on you.’ Others looked shocked.”
Stephane was crowned winner by default, and Eddy told the audience that they had kicked Will off the fairgrounds for cheating.
“Throughout the day I heard people gossiping about how I had caught a cheater on stage. Days went by and I was still hearing about it. My cousin will forever be known as the Oktoberfest cheater.”
The Legend of Tablecloth
The keg toss competition is yet another Beau’s Oktoberfest staple. Contestants are required to throw an empty beer keg for height or for distance.
It was a muggy Saturday afternoon at Oktoberfest 2011, when emcee Jason Baines was getting ready to host the men’s keg toss competition for distance in front of a packed crowd.
Contestants in the competition awaited by the sidelines preparing for their big moment by stretching, chatting, or focusing in silence, all while Jason was working the crowd.
Among the contestants that day was Zach, donning a red and white plaid shirt with suspenders.
With great fervor and determination, Zach stepped up to the plate and tossed the 50-litre keg as far as he could, only to come short of a winning distance.
One hour later, Zach would come back from his loss, this time to compete in the men’s keg toss competition for height, determined to do better.
“When it was his turn, I joked with the audience about how his shirt looked like a tablecloth,” recalls Jason. “But then the crowd really jumped in on it and made it their own.”
As Zach was winding up for his shot, again with great ferociousness, a groundswell of chanting could be heard coming from the stands: “Table Cloth! Table Cloth!”
Zach has since returned every year to compete in the keg toss competition at Oktoberfest, always sporting the same plaid shirt. He has become a bit of a legend in his own right, known simply by many as Tablecloth. His lore is so ingrained in Beau’s culture, you can spot him tossing the keg on this year’s Oktoberfest poster.
Although he’s never won, every year he inches closer and closer, placing third for men’s height last year.
“After last year’s crushing defeat, I went out and bought an empty keg,” says Zach. “2018 is the year of the Tablecloth.”
Do you want to compete in this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest activities? Jordan Duff at Ottawa Magazine offers an in-depth training guide with all of the fitness tips and pointers you might need to succeed: https://ottawamagazine.com/style/beaus-oktoberfest-the-other-other-olympics-train-with-this-epic-guide/
The 10th edition of Beau’s Oktoberfest takes place September 21 & 22 at the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds. Activities include malt sack races, sausage eating contests, stein holding struggles, keg tossing, and more. To purchase tickets, and for more information on activity registration opening in August, visit www.beausoktoberfest.ca.