The World Tamale Eating Championship began as a conversataion at my shop between myself and Beth Ramsey. A longtime friend and business associate, we met at the Save the Old Town Business Association meeting back in 2002. Along with Beth and Debbie Peters of Lewisville State Bank, we made a pact to not let the OTBA die. We went through a lot together trying to keep the association alive and get other businesses involved. We forged a relationship through those challenging times.
Beth is a unique and quirky lady with a truly invidual sense of self. Not only is she an honest person and a true giver to her community, she has a very dry sense of humor that I really get a kick out of.
The truth is, the WTEC is her brainchild. She had an idea to have it and sell her famous chili at the event. She contacted the MLE, then known as the IFOCE first to see if they would bite on the idea. She came by the shop and laid out her vision to me. She said not to get too worked up about it, she was still waiting on a call back from the IFOCE, but if they liked the idea she would then call the City of Lewisville.
She and I served on the Board of Directors together of the OTBA and we were desparate to try and save our dying historic business district. Beth and I had worked on several other events together and we knew that special events were necessary to attract and retain foot traffic in Old Town. As the story turns out the IFOCE liked the idea and they really liked Dallas Tortilla & Tamale Factory being a part of it. Beth worked with the City of Lewisville to iron out the details and the plan took off!
The City wanted the event to be held in conjunction with the first ever BassMaster held at Lake Lewisville. The OTBA would put up the prize money, Dallas Tortilla and Tamale Factory would supply the tamales for the contestants and volunteers of the OTBA would help shuck the tamales. They were the very first Tamale Crew. Raquel, myself and a friend of mine, Miss Latina Dallas were the "Hot Tamale Girls".
It was a hot day, I drove to Dallas, picked up the Tamales in the factory's delivery van and hauled butt to Lake Lewisville. I literally blew down I-35 and rolled straight up through the grass at the event site to unload the tamales!
What a rush. The volunteers helped me unload the tamales and man, were they "Hot". The volunteers assembled at the tables and began the big task of de -shucking all the tamales! The heat was bearing down on the contestants, we were all hot and sweaty, but none more than those wonderful eaters! What champions, what professionals. Those eaters were hungry! It ended in a two way tie, so we had to have another eat off, aka tie breaker! In the end Levi Oliver won and I can still see his victorious stance. Our business association president, Kenny Roberts got to hand out the prize money and as he counted out the $100 dollar bills, he thanked me and Dallas Tortilla and Tamale Factory. We made the local news that night.
We at the OTBA were so pleased with our efforts, but we decided that if we did all that work then we needed to bring it back to Old Town. We resolved to do that the very next year.
That first year was exciting, but when we brought it back to Old Town, it was almost victorious.
Stay tuned for the next episode of Dallas Tortilla & Tamale Factory's World Tamale Eating Championship!