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LAREDO, Texas — Stripes Convenience Stores hosted 22 contestants in its Stripes Media/Celebrity Jalapeño Eating Challenge, held Feb. 11 at the chain's Jacaman Road store in Laredo, reported ABC Laredo. Participants had five minutes to eat as many jalapeños as they could for a good cause.
Contestants included 2016 Miss Texas USA Daniella Rodriguez, 2016 Mexico Belleza Latina Stephanie Lira, radio personality Alex Melchor of Z-93's "El Brodita," returning champion Albert "Big Al" Martinez of Southern Distributing, and others.
Stripes made a donation for every jalapeño eaten and presented a $500 check to the Communities in Schools organization. Mascots Pepe Jalapeño and Andy the Aviator were on-site to cheer on contestants.
Abraham H. Diaz, of the Laredo Police Department Community Relations Unit, won first place by eating 43 jalapeños and received the Grand Champion trophy and a $100 gift card courtesy of Stripes. Juan "Rhyno" Davila from 103.3 The Jackal Rock Station placed second with 41 jalapeños, and Tavian Rosemond of the Laredo Swarm came in third place with 34 jalapeños.
"We are proud to host the Stripes Stores Media/Celebrity Jalapeño Eating Challenge and honored to benefit Communities in Schools for our Laredo community," said Eduardo Pereda, vice president of marketing for Stripes. "We are excited to be involved in this year's WBCA Jalapeño Festival and we are looking forward to another great event."
The contest was held in advance of the WBCA Jalapeño Festival Sponsored by La Costeña, which takes place Feb. 19-20 at the El Metro Park and Ride on Hillside Road in Laredo. Festival events include the Miss Jalapeño Contest, El Grito Contest Sponsored by Stripes Stores, Tug of War, and International Waiter's Race. Additionally, Stripes' Laredo Taco Co. foodservice brand is sponsoring the Jalapeño Food Alley.
Corpus Christi, Texas-based Stripes operates more than 700 c-stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.