Posted August 10, 2007 by Creator in Makers

Defcon Weekend of Fire Replay

Well, seeing as Nick wasn’t able to attend the Weekend of Fire at Jungle Jim’s this past weekend, he asked me to do a Point of View piece on it. Get a beer, sit back, and enjoy the read”¦

It’s Friday morning, 4am. We had packed the trailer and truck Thursday night so we could hop into the Defcon Assimilation Vehicle and start our journey the next morning with no delays. It actually worked this time, oh joy! We hit the road by 5am and started our pilgrimage west. It was somewhat an uneventful ride until we hit a 1-1/2 hour delay on 81 south due to a UPS truck deciding to do a backflip. I met a few interesting people on Route 81 while we were sitting still in traffic, what’s the sense of sitting in your car? Anyway, after this delay, we proceeded.

I had forgotten the joy of how long it takes to drive the width of Pennsylvania, kind of like slowly drilling a hole through your head with a dull bit. At least the comical drivers kept us awake with their antics. We rolled into Ohio about 4:30pm, pretty good time, and began our setup. Most booths had already been setup and the vendors were nowhere to be seen (probably having a few cold ones). This in fact was a good thing, as they might have been a little scared when I opened the 2 crates of lighting apparatus that was to be strung up in our booth. We unloaded our stuff, with the help from Amy and Sandy from Peppers (THANK YOU!), and moved our wares into the convention center.

The Oscar Convention Center was nothing short of gorgeous. I would come to learn that anything Jungle Jim puts his hands on is top notch. Even the mens room was beautiful, you could have a card game inside of it. We met up with Bret, and he welcomed us. He seemed like the weight of the world had been taken off his shoulders, which is understandable, as he just finished his crash course in trade show logistics, and there was no stopping the show now. We exchanged levities, which would become daily protocol. Maggie started setting up the tables, tablecloths and regular stuff, while I opened the lighting boxes and began to unload “The Tesla Box” of electronics. We had a corner booth this time around, and we were kind of “winging” it for our setup (no pun intended), which came out better than expected. As I was stringing wires through every square inch of the tent interior, passer-bys would stop and say hello. We met many of the usual suspects, but also many local vendors I had never met before. All in all it seemed like a bunch of nice people, something you don’t always get at every show.

Well, after about 300 cable ties were put in place, I hit the master switch, and the booth lit up like an X-Ray room. The booth was glowing like a tailings pond downstream from a nuke plant. AWESOME! A small gathering of people gazed upon our “Booth of Doom” and asked, “Who/What are these Defcon people?”. We laughed and continued our setup. We finished, and were completely exhausted. Oh, did I mention it was about 95 degrees with matching humidity outside? I would end up losing about 10 pounds of water weight this weekend. Dan and Mike from Badgerland stopped by, with beer in hand, to greet us. I cracked a Fosters (no dry ice this time around) and gazed upon our booth creation with silent bliss. The four of us went back to the hotel, so we could finally check in and change clothes real quick. As we were getting ready to depart for dinner, we met up with a group of vendors who were about to head out for the evening. This group got on the Cooch & Pootan Party Short Bus, which was nothing short of amazing looking, and they headed out to the highway. We left for dinner as it was now about 9:30pm. We searched around for a place to eat, but didn’t want the standard Applebee/Bennigans/Friday cookie cutter fare. We stumbled upon El Coyote, and proceeded to have a really good dinner. We met up with Lars and his mom from Csigi Chili Sauce as well and discussed the upcoming 48 hour bout with the shuffling biomass of retail buyers. Earlier that evening, in speaking with Amy from Peppers, we were to meet up with the crowd on the Chooch & Pootan Party Bus at The Throttle Stop, a cool little biker bar. We showed up there”¦But no chiliheads. I called Amy, and was told they moved to Roosters. Well, let’s just say we called it an early night, as the directions we received were a little short of correct. This would actually be a Godsend the next day, as the battle would commence for 9 hours.

We awoke on Saturday quite sober and ready to do battle. We got to the booth around 9am to do a couple finishing touches on the booth, and to relax until the 11am bell would sound and the masses would begin their assault. Members of the Party Bus began to arrive, a bit disheveled from the previous nights activities, something that happens at every show we’ve ever done. 11am came, and so did the people. Many vendors fears were put to rest, this being a first show for this venue, and no one knew what to expect. Well, it seemed Bret had fulfilled his end of the deal. In speaking with a few, it seems over 1500+ showed up that first day, not too bad. One thing I noticed that was a lot different from the Fiery Foods show, the people were overly polite, and many actually had knowledge about what they were consuming. Not once was I asked the questions that hurt my brain every March in Albuquerque like, “How do you make a pepper hot?”, the people actually asked serious questions, ones that were worth an explanation. Many eyes were attracted to the 2 glowing white lab coats and product labels in the booth. Yeah, it was cool.


As usual, people heard about the little vial I always have on hand (The ZERO), and I enjoyed feeding it to the masses. The hiccups, coughing, sneezing and whimpering were music to my ears. There was also to be a Defcon Deathmatch that evening, and we met up with Rommy and Nadia from Wings & Rings, who were sponsoring the event, which was located in the same complex around the corner.

The day went well, and we made a few new friends. 7pm came, and we gathered our Deathmatch equipment and headed down to Wings & Rings. The rain had JUST stopped, so it was the perfect time to do this event outside, due to a proactive approach anticipating the possible oral evacuation of contestant(s). We had about 40 people signed up for this event, and would you believe only 6 made it to the actual table, and 3 were bloggers, go figure. Anyway, we sat the contestants down, gave them their Defcon Evacuation Receptacles (Chinese take-out boxes). There was quite the audience, including many vendors and friends. I have never had a Deathmatch in which the focus was so intense. No trash talking, nothing, just concentration. Lars from Csigi taped the video for us, and I hope to have a copy of it on our website soon. DK, as many already know, was the overall winner. The man was a machine in this event. One gentleman, after finishing, and during the awards ceremony, disappeared into the mens room for a little while for a gastrointestinal respite. Not unexpected. Bret had come up with some great prizes, which everyone was happy with.

The Deathmatch sauce is on its way!

Afterwards, while we were cleaning up, we left out the remaining wings and Deathmatch sauce. A few brave souls tested there luck, not believing the stuff was as heinous as we said it was. Well, from the reactions of most, they will be needing skin grafts on their tongues. One guy, after eating one wing, went for a second, but upon the first bite of the second wing, made a mad dash towards the mens room, leaving his stomach contents as a trail. The day was now complete.

The Deathmatch Contestants

And The Deathmatch Winner!

We ended up hanging out for a while that evening, but made it somewhat of an early evening as we were beat. We forgot to eat dinner that night, but I was pleasantly surprised that Ohio has White Castle! I ended up scarfing down about 15 of the little suckers, and then hit the sheets.

Sunday, the last day of battle, was upon us. We manned our respective parapets, and cloaked ourselves in ultraviolet light once again. They came, they bought, we conquered. Sunday was a relatively quiet day compared to Saturday, and the time actually went by rather fast. When closing time hit, we began our breakdown, which took about 2 hours. Bret stopped by again and we discussed the weekend. I explained to him that I thought it was a great success, considering it was the first show. I personally think next years attendance will dwarf this one. We did very well, as did others, and it was nice meeting so many damn polite people, I wasn’t aware that many existed.

Afterwards, myself, The Createss, Amy and Sandy from Peppers, Chooch and Pootan headed out to El Coyote once again. Who do we meet again, but Lars from Csigi. We ate dinner, quaffed some fermented brew, and figured we go somewhere for a nightcap. We ended up back at Wings & Rings, the location of the Deathmatch. Rommy and Nadia, the owners greeted us as well, and we discussed the weekend with them. It seems Rommy is looking forward to a MUCH bigger Deathmatch. We’re talking about in the parking lot. I will be discussing this event with Bret in the near future, as this could be an AWESOME way to raise money for a charity and get a great pull into the show itself.

Bret in all his glory. Nice helmet!

All in all, we had a great time, and I think Bret did an amazing job. We are looking forward to doing it again, and will add this event to our exalted “annual event calendar”. If you missed it this time around, make sure you don’t miss it twice in a row. I think everyone at the show had a good time, and many friendships were started, and many more just reinforced a little bit. It’s one of the amazing things about this industry, virtually everyone has fun with it, and looks forward to meeting others with the same interest. I’d like to thank the bloggers that made the trek, as it is always great to meet up with you guys/gals, and those that attended their very first hot sauce show, hopefully we’ve indoctrinated you into the Chilihead Sphere of Influence.

The DEFCON Global Assimilation Vehicle at Jungle Jims