Crossroads community shows its love for kolaches (video)
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HALLETTSVILLE - Sweat dripped down Billy Davis' forehead as he eyed the mountain of kolaches stacked before him.
His reputation was on the line, not that he kept tabs on that sort of thing. Eighth year, ninth year, it didn't matter. To him, a win is a win.
The referee counted down to the start, and with toned reflexes, Davis, 20, of Hallettsville, snatched up his first kolache, folded it in half and dunked it in water.
He took two bites and swallowed.
Again, he ripped the second kolache apart, took two bites and swallowed, until all four vanished.
In less than 30 seconds, he expertly consumed a plate of Czech pastries.
"I feel good," he said. "I wanted to see if somebody could beat me."
The prize didn't matter.
His dad, Bill Jr., sat out this year's eating-contest.
"We feed him well," he said, patting his son on his swollen belly.
Davis comes back to Hallettsville's Kolache Fest every year solely to enter this contest of guts, Minute to Win It.
"I told them to make it an even dozen, but they won't do it," he said.
Sharee Rainosek, Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the eating contest is becoming an odd-ball tradition for many festival-goers.
"Considering the rain, we've had a very good turnout," Rainosek said.
She estimated about 3,000 people will attend the festival, now in its 18th year, over the weekend.
Minute to Win It attracts competitive eaters of all ages.
Haley Carroll, 10, of Victoria, enters the contest every year, but this was her first win in the 8- to 10-year-old category.
After devouring three kolaches and beating out five other contestants, Haley said she had lost her appetite for any more festival treats.
"It's really fun and a great festival," she said.
She even entered her chicken, Freckles, in a kolache eating-contest. Freckles did not place.
While the appetites were big, the kolaches were even bigger.
Kurt Oefinger, 30, of Hondo, brought a massive mesquite-fired grill to the festival to bake a six-foot fruit kolache.
"This is my first time to do anything besides pizza," Oefinger said. "I didn't even know what a kolache was until about a week ago."
For him and his baking team, the challenge was one they couldn't resist.
"I'm just waiting for someone to tell me I can't do something," he said. "This stops people mid-sentence. It's an attention-getter."