Plenty feeling the burn at Yeppoon's 2018 Chilli Festival
WITH tears streaming and his thousand mile stare, you could tell Tony Landers was in the hurt locker at the Yeppoon Chilli Festival.
Capricorn community spirit was burning as bright as fool hardy chilli eater's mouths at the annual event, which was in its third year.
Over 500 hundred visitors passed through the gates of the Yeppoon PCYC, visiting various stalls and sampling the finest mouth heating jerky, chutney, chilli sauces, curries and spices the Capricorn Coast had to offer.
Mr Landers, 33, was one of the soon-to-be-sorry contestants in the Chilli Festival's centrepiece event - the chilli eating competition.
Starting out softly with capsicum and jalapeños, the nine contestants were gradually whittled down as they worked their way up the spicy heat Scoville scale traversing the hottest sauces right up to the fabled Trinidad Scorpions and lethal Carolina Reaper chillies.
Organisers got a little bit more than they bargained for as some determined chilli quaffing punters plough through plate after increasingly hot plates of capsaicin laced delicacies.
In the end three contestants, Gassan Sangari, Ben Swallow and Tony Landers weathered the chilli storm, defeating organiser's chilli stock piles to jointly have their names inscribed on the winner's trophy.
Co-winner Tony Landers, 33, said he made the trip up from Boyne Island specifically for the Chilli Festival.
He admitted he wasn't even that much of a chilli eating fan and was simply pushing through the pain sticking it out due to the the irresistible lure of the first prize - a handmade barbecue.
"The experience was painful but I'd probably do it again,” he said.
"It got pretty hot, pretty quick, with the last one, the Carolina Reaper (the world's hottest), I found to be the hardest.
"It was an awesome day, I'll definitely be back next year to defend title.”
He was awaiting notification about what his prize would be given the three-way tie and the barbecue subsequently raffled off.
One of the PCYC team organisers for the Chilli Festival, Sergeant Greg Jones, said it was a great turn out with the money they fundraised going towards an for an outdoor barbecue renovation which included a pizza oven upgrade.
"We were looking to provide better facilities for the youth leadership programs that we run there,” Sgt Jones said.
He was extremely keen to keep the event rolling and had been subsequently approached by local farmers claiming they had the biggest range and the hottest chillies available to throw into the chilli eating mix next year.