There was cheating.
There were attempts at subterfuge, skulduggery and extortion.
A villain even tried to bribe the teenaged Apple Blossom Queen from York to get her to throw Thursday’s annual Krispy Kreme doughnut eating contest, which raises money for Special Olympics.
None of it worked.
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In the contest among politicians and local people of notoriety – or no shame, depending on perspective – I finished dead last out of 12 contestants. All I could manage was a doughnut and a half.
I even failed at all the nefarious deeds, too.
“Lame,” said a 5-year-old kid, who was right, as he was one of the foils I used as a ruse by giving him one of the doughnuts I was supposed to eat. I gave away three doughnuts to little kids and still finished last.
Bureaucrats, fat guys, even politicians of both parties finished ahead of me.
State Rep. Tommy Pope, a former cop and prosecutor, beat me handily after years of police/prosecutor/politician doughnut training.
Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett, a gourmet cook in his spare time, claimed not to be hungry but still ate like a wolf.
York County Councilman Chad Williams, the lone Democrat, ate with both hands and would have used his feet if it had been allowed. Each pummeled me by four or five doughnuts, at least.
A lady from a radio station in Charlotte who was skinny and never took off her sunglasses whipped me after threatening legal action as I tried to pile my doughnuts in her box when she wasn’t looking.
“No cheating,” she complained.
So I turned to the other side.
Even 16-year-old Ashley Avore – the reigning S.C. Miss Apple Blossom Queen who refused to take a bribe from me as she is a fine young person and not a brigand – ate at least three doughnuts.
“Stop trying to cheat,” she whispered as I snuck doughnuts into her box.
Ashley is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 94 pounds, and still she crushed me.
“You didn’t do very good,” she said, in Thursday’s biggest understatement.
The contest was the first of three over three days at the Krispy Kreme on Celanese Road.
“Cops on Doughnut Shops” – yes, cops taking over the roof of the Krispy Kreme – is raising money for Special Olympics. Through Friday and Saturday, officers from all area departments are manning the parking lot and roof, accepting donations.
Even more special than the cops donating time and effort, dozens of Special Olympics athletes helped take up money.
Every penny goes to put on the annual Area 11 games here in Rock Hill, and to help the best Special Olympics athletes go to state, national, even international contests.
Officers will be on the roof from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, and from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Their goal is to raise $20,000. A $20 donation gets a dozen doughnuts and a T-shirt.
At 2 p.m. Friday, police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders will compete in a doughnut-eating contest of their own. At 2 p.m. Saturday, anyone can eat all the hot, glazed doughnuts they can in an open contest.
“Special Olympics is a great program,” said Det. Phil Tripp of the Rock Hill Police Department, who organized the fundraiser. “The people who do their best in Special Olympics – who show us all what it means to try and not give up – deserve our support and the best we can give them.”
Despite a few lame contestants who must have thought they were in the Doughnut Olympics or something, nobody was close to beating Thursday’s eventual winner.
Joshua Myers, a longtime Special Olympics athlete who is also a spokesman for the games locally and across the state, ate a dozen doughnuts in under four minutes. It helps that Joshua is 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds.
The applause when he won was earned, because Joshua Myers was, again, the best. He earned a belt that looks like one of those professional wrestling belts. I tried to steal it. I failed at that, too.
“Special Olympics is all about doing your best,” Myers said.
When it was all over, a Special Olympics athlete stopped me. Her name is Teresa Boehme, and three years ago, she won a gold medal in bocce lawn bowling in the world Special Olympics games in Athens, Greece.
This special lady had collected donations all day, given out coupons and smiled at strangers who were helping athletes just like her. For so many years, she has tried her best at everything that she does.
“So you didn’t win,” she told me. “Don’t give up trying.”
For Teresa and Josh and all these athletes, I won’t. And maybe next year, I can hope to be half as special as these wonderful Special Olympians who never quit and always do their best.