World's Hottest Pepper Eating Contest Finally Ends After Three Intense Tiebreakers

The winner ended up eating three Dragon's Breath peppers to claim the title.

Dragon's Breath chile peppers
Photo: Ben Hasty / MediaNews Group / Reading Eagle via Getty Images

If you type "Dragon's Breath pepper" in the Google search bar, the site recommends other searches like "Is the Dragon's Breath pepper real?" and "Can the Dragon's Breath pepper kill you?" The answers to those questions are "Yes" and "No, but it may make you wish you were dead."

The pepper, which originated on a farm in Wales, claims to be the World's Hottest, with a reported rating of 2.48 million Scoville heat units. (The Carolina Reaper — the Guinness World Records' current record-holder — measures a tame-by-comparison 1.64 million SHU.) Regardless, the Dragon's Breath is so hot that when it was displayed at London's annual Chelsea Flower Show, it was kept in a sealed container.

Kelly Joel Myers probably knows just how potent the Dragon's Breath can be, but that didn't stop him from eating three of them last weekend. Myers had to down those carefully-grown incendiary devices during the tiebreaker rounds of the annual Easton (Penn.) Farmer's Market hot pepper-eating contest, and his superhuman digestive system helped him score his second straight win in the competition.

According to Lehigh Valley Live, 10 contestants took on the pepper-eating challenge and, after 11 rounds of increasingly hot peppers, Myers was tied with Matthew Leto. Chris Anastasides, the 2019 contest winner and last year's runner up, was knocked out after six rounds.

After finishing those 11 scorchers, Myers and Leto had to endure three hellacious-sounding tiebreaker rounds: the first was a pair of Carolina Reapers, the second was two Dragon's Breath, and the third was one Reaper and one Dragon's Breath. At the end of it, Myers was the one who earned the trophy.

"Coming into this event I felt like I had a target on my back," he told Lehigh Valley Live. "Also on top of that, the pressure to perform for all the family and friends that showed up. This win meant a lot to me [...] It's [an] awesome achievement and Easton got a hometown winner."

On Facebook, Meyers celebrated his third pepper-eating win in the past three months. "Fierce competition. It got BRUTAL," he wrote. "Not entirely happy [with] this one. My hands cramped up again. All I know [is that] the event moved much faster this year. Only 2 minutes between each pepper." (You know you're an elite hot pepper-eater when your post-competition complaint is that your hand hurt.)

Myers, who posts on social media using the name "Hot Pepper Boi" shared a full 45-minute video of the competition on YouTube. He told a commenter that this year's competition "got bad," and that he had an unrelated back injury going into it. "I didn't even take any kind of medicine because I thought it would jeopardize my stomach," he wrote. "Then I got hit hard by one of the peppers. Not entirely happy with this performance."

If a win and a massive trophy mean that Meyers is still unhappy, then we already feel sorry for whoever challenges him next year. We also feel sorry for the stomachs of everyone involved.

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