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What started as an item on his bucket list turned into a world record for Crestwood resident Jason McNabb.
“When I was a kid, I used to read about Guinness World Records in the Scholastic Reader magazine at school,” McNabb said. “I was always amazed at the feats people accomplished.
“There’s a fine line between amazing and crazy, I guess.”
McNabb, who lives in Crestwood with his wife Gina, six-year-old daughter Jasey and three-year-old son Finn, recently earned a Guinness World Record for eating the most ghost peppers in two minutes. He ate 66 grams, or about 15, of the world’s hottest peppers on “Guinness World Records Unleashed,” which aired last week on TruTV.
The show, which was filmed in June in Santa Monica, Calif., pitted McNabb against two other competitors. Each had a large plate of ghost peppers placed in front of them with instructions to eat as many as possible, one at a time, within the two-minute timeframe without drinking anything or throwing up for at least 60 seconds afterward. McNabb was the clear winner.
“I’ve always liked spicy food,” McNabb said. “This all started when I said I’d like to eat a ghost pepper. It was something on my bucket list.”
McNabb, who is a dentist with Simply Smiles, LLC in Shively, ordered some ghost peppers and had them delivered to his office. He was dared to eat one at work, which he did. After that, his office manager looked up the world record for eating the hot chili peppers. The existing record was three peppers eaten in 1 minute and 10 seconds. Just as a curiosity, McNabb’s co-worker signed him up online to challenge the record. Eight months later, McNabb said, Guinness called to invite him to try to set a new record.
“That’s when I started training,” McNabb, whose staff has since started calling him Dr. Pepper, said. “I had eaten a few ghost peppers here and there, but I tried to eat them on a regular basis to build up tolerance.”
McNabb also put hot sauce on everything he ate and figured out what kinds of food to eat before he attempted the record. In his training, the most ghost peppers he had eaten in one sitting was four, which would have beaten the existing record. But when McNabb arrived to tape the show, he was surprised to learn the producers had changed the parameters.
“They told me they were changing the time limit from one minute to two minutes, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to die,’ ” McNabb said.
But McNabb, who generally doesn’t shy away from an adventure, didn’t back out. Instead, he filled his stomach with bananas, yogurt, bread and half a bottle of Maalox and steeled himself for the challenge.
On stage, McNabb couldn’t see his competitors and had no idea how he was doing in comparison. But to his immediate left, competitive eater Kevin Ross got off to a quick start.
“I was really nervous for the first 30 seconds because Kevin was downing them really fast, but then he started slowing down when the heat kicked in,” McNabb said. “That second minute really helped me, although a lot of the actual competition is kind of blank for me.”
Guinness had intended for the winner to eat at least 20 grams of peppers – McNabb ate more than three times as many, earning him the world record. When asked if he intends to defend his record any time soon, McNabb chuckles that he might already know who his primary challenger will be – his six-year-old daughter Jasey.
“She’s already a chili head, but we only let her eat jalapenos right now. She said that when she grows up she’s going to break my world record,” McNabb said. “If anybody could break it, she’d be the one to do it.”
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