Posted July 4, 2006 by Nick Lindauer in Collectibles

Jungle Jim’s Firecracker 500 Contest Winners

Congratulations to the two winners of Jungle Jim’s 4th of July Contest – only two entries recieved, so only two winners this time around. Congrats to Jim & DK – drop Bret an email and he’ll get your Firecrackers out to you asap. Everyone else, have a safe and happy 4th of July – the wife and I are off to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (our annual Coney Island Trip).

Firefighters are an odd lot as one might already suspect. While the profession is made up of unique individuals, there are certain traits and personality quirks that are common to most, if not all, of them. Part of these is what makes them good at their jobs, especially as it comes to problem solving… even if the problem to be solved is likely to get them in even deeper trouble. Little can get a firefighter ‘fired up’ more than the prospect of competition and/or problem solving. Combine the both and you’ve got *real* trouble…..

Holidays at the firehouse can be a bit slow at times & folks are most always looking for ways to get in the spirit of the day and celebrate. 4th of July is a good one as it involves things that go ‘bang’. Years ago (well past the Statute of Limitations I hope) the Station decided to try and celebrate the 4th by having a few impromptu contests. We divided into our usual teams- the Engine crew, along with the EMS Supervisor and the Safety Officer against the Truck and Ambulance crew. A ‘Truckie’ had brought in one of those ‘water balloon slingshots’- rubber tubing with a pouch designed to launch water balloons a pretty good distance. The Truck crew was getting 50-75 yards or better, stretching the thing to the breaking point.

Their challenge became for the Engine crew to improve on it. Hunting around the shop we found some 1.25″ rubber hose that had some good elasticity to it. Hmm… this looks promising. The Safety officer rigged a launch pouch out of a canvas bag and we proudly marched our contraption out to do distance and destruction competitions against the Truck crews’ commercial rig. We immediately ran into a problem… it took 6 full grown men severe strain to stretch the thing. We viewed that as a positive thing, promising great potential. The target we used was our ‘roof prop’- a plywood, 2 x 4, & shingle prop that is designed to be destroyed (anyway) in doing roof cutting drills. The Truck crew fired the first few shots from a distance of 75′, showing extremely good accuracy but barely causing a ripple to the shingles. They then upgraded to soda cans to a much better effect, peeling some of the shingles and causing the soda can disintegrate in a satisfying fashion. We had already seen that balloons wouldn’t do the rig justice, so we’d filled several 2 litre pop bottles with water.

We loaded the first one in, stretched and strained til we could go no further, released… and missed the prop entirely. The 2 litre bottle, which had to have weighed at least a few pounds, sailed over the prop, just missed the roof of the 3 story training tower, cleared the retention pond, and landed in the woods at the edge of the property- a distance of some 200 yards or better, to the utter astonishment of us all. Whooping and hollering, we reloaded took better aim and struck. The roof prop vaporized in a shower of water, splinters, and pieces parts.

The third shot fractured brick and mortar on the training tower. It was at this point that it was decided to halt the contest for ‘safety reasons’. Besides, the next contest involved pyrotechniques and who could make the bigger bang. That promised to be much more fun since the Truck crew had brought in some black powder. They looked to redeem themselves and were convinced they’d win that one. Until we discovered the magnesium shavings 😉

– Jim C.

There has not been a lot of exciting 4th of July events in my life concerning hot sauce, but this is the closest one. I couldn’t remember much about it, so I had to email my best friend for a little reminder. Here is the reply I got from him with my comments (in bold) for my recollection of the events. Enjoy.

I remember plenty. We opened the ‘found’ bottle of 1980 Canadian Club whisky (I found it in a truck stored on top of the heater box behind the glove box in a brown paper bag with an intact seal, never opened). We stood out on your front porch and yelled and then waited for the response from your relatives down the street (That part was funny because it was to show my “city friend” how we rednecks kept in touch, think “Deliverance”, but not the pig squealing part!). That chili was awesome (As in hot as hell, but flavorful. Used Megadeath in that one.). I even made a hotdog with it. And, yes, the pot stayed in the sink (unwashed) till after New Years (the chili pot, and yes I am ashamed! Although I was a young bachelor, so dishes were not my thing.). I don’t remember what year it was. It was the first year that you worked at Masters (Probably around 1995). It was you, me, the @#*% that I was married to, Michelle (my ex), Michelle’s friend that had lost like a 100 pounds and was extremely hot, Ted, and one other guy that was there for just a few minutes. We went up to the little store at the end of your street and bought fireworks. The guy gave us a discount because it was so late (Wasn’t really a store, remember, I lived in the sticks back then, more like a gutted old house that the guy sold odds and ends out of, and fireworks. ). We watched some concert that you had taped off of your DSS system. You were showing us how good the picture quality was.

OK, not a very eventful 4th, but the chili was good, the Canadian Club was effective (and well aged!), and most importantly, I got to spend it with my friends. Now that I think of it, that was really the beginning of my “famous” chili. Since then, it’s gotten hotter, tastier, and the pot is cleaner!


Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog