BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The United Way of Harrison County is preparing for its biggest fundraising event of the year — the 10th annual Hot Wing Eating Contest at Buffalo Wild Wings at Charles Pointe.
The first event was held in 2010, with each year growing bigger and more successful than the previous.
“The first one back in 2010 we made $1,598, and this last year we made over $100,000,” Executive Director Tina Yoke said. “We definitely need to make at least $100,000, so we’re hoping to exceed last year’s goal.”
Hitting that goal this year is extremely important, with the 2019 campaign about $300,000 behind its fundraising goal.
While Yoke said she’s trying to remain optimistic, she admits this year is a little harder than years past.
“I’m optimistic, but I am a little less than last year. The government shut down has affected us tremendously,” she said. “We definitely would like to be further along. But I have faith in our community. I really believe that our community members are going to step up and help us reach that goal.”
For those looking to take a bite out of the competition, there are three ways to win.
“One is who can eat the most wings in eight minutes, and the other way is who can raise the most money for the wings that they eat that evening. We’ll have a men’s and a women’s division,” Yoke said.
Yoke said last year’s winner ate 31 wings in eight minutes.
“Which is a lot of wings, but I hear grumbling that there’s people that could definitely eat more than that so we shall see,” she said. “The person who raised the most money raised $20,000 for the event.”
Each year, the event becomes a night full of friendly competition and edging on to try to top those records.
“Fortunately, competition is what brings out the best in people in some ways, so they are very competitive to see not only who can eat the most wings but also who can raise the most money,” Yoke said.
For Yoke, however, the best part is watching everyone come together for a good cause.
“To look around the building and to know that every person that’s in that building is supporting the United Way and our 25 member agencies,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to know that many people come out to help our community.”
The United Way of Harrison County will also be sponsoring two dining out events in Clarksburg before the 2019 campaign ends. The Fifth Floor will be Jan. 23rd, and Julios on Feb. 5.
“Each of those restaurants have offered to give a percentage of the proceeds they make that evening to our United Way campaign,” Yoke said. “It’s just a great opportunity for people in the community to come out and support United Way, to support our local restaurants, and to help raise the funds for our 2019 campaign.”
To register for the Hot Wing Eating Contest or to learn more about the United Way of Harrison County, visit unitedwayhcwv.org.