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HomeNewsWorld record holder brings the heat to Western Hot Sauce Expo

World record holder brings the heat to Western Hot Sauce Expo

Things are going to get a little spicy in Taber Apr. 20 with the “Heating Up the Prairies” Western Hot Sauce Expo. From hot sauce judging, challenges and tastings to small-batch crafters from coast-to-coast and a very special guest, the second annual event hopes to bring on the heat. 

Dylan Lowry, owner of Lethbridge’s Beyond Hot, says an invite is out to all the “chili heads” to bring them all together. “To open people’s eyes to different avenues rather than Frank’s and Tabasco.” 

Lowry says the event will feature local crafters from Lethbridge, Calgary, Red Deer and Medicine Hat plus crafters from B.C. to Ontario. “We have a lot of local content, which is nice.” 

“We also have non-hot sauce vendors. That way, it’s not all about hot sauce,” adds Lowry.  

Multiple “Guinness Book of World Records” holder Mike Jack from the YouTube channel “Mike Jack Eats Heat” will be in attendance for a meet and greet and to partake in a custom designed challenge. The Canadian “pepperista” holds a multitude of records in the hot categories, including “Fastest Time to Eat 100 Carolina Reaper Peppers.” Jack is also the  League of Fire’s “World Chili Pepper Eating Champion.” 

“I’ve been travelling around doing hot sauce shows around the world. Doing different challenges and a lot of ‘Guinness World Records’ attempts,” says Jack. 

Jack says the road to becoming a hot sauce champ happened gradually. “I got into hot sauce when I was in college 20 years ago. At the time, I thought Frank’s Red Hot and Tabasco were super-hot. Over time, I used more hot sauce and I would search out hotter sauces. Eventually, I was eating hot sauce with the world’s hottest peppers like most people use ketchup.” 

Initially, a friend encouraged Jack to eat Carolina Reaper peppers on YouTube. “I thought it was hot, but this isn’t too bad. Maybe I’ll try some more, so I just made more videos and ate like five, then 10 and 20.”  

Jack learned how to speed eat and started breaking records. “I’ve broken 13 ‘Guinness World Records’ now.” 

But Jack wouldn’t recommend just anybody trying to eat 100 Carolina Reapers in one sitting, especially if you have a heart condition. “I’ve trained my body. I know what I am in for. I’ve built up a tolerance, but it still hurts.” 

One misconception with spice, Jack notes, is it hurts – but it doesn’t cause any damage. 

“For a professional, it’s not really too bad. I’ve been doing it for almost seven years and I don’t have any long-lasting effects or anything, but it’s definitely a rough night,” Jack jokes. 

As for this year’s expo in Taber, Lowry says a lot of Western Canadians have never heard about hot sauce manufacturers from Ontario or other Eastern provinces, “So, this puts them in the eye.” 

“Plus, there’s some regulars and some other people that make great sauces that just don’t have much notoriety because they’re not out there yet,” Lowry adds. 

This year’s event offers free admission and is being held at the Taber Community Centre from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations will be accepted for local food banks and other charities, including The Rolling Barrage. For more information visit 

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