Cravin crawfish

Contestants in the 2006 crawfish-eating contest ate 100 pounds of crawdads, plus results of the other festival events
by: Jaime Valdez, CRAWFISH-CHOMPING CHAMP — Mike Rossi, of Portland, slurps up a crawfish tail during Saturday’s adult crawfish-eating competition at the Tualatin Crawfish Festival. Rossi took home first place after eating 97 crawfish tails and claws.

TUALATIN - Snap the tail, pinch the end, crack the shell and voila, it's crawfish-eating time.

Seem like a lot of work for a nibble of shellfish? You have no idea.

Nine pairs of slimy, Cajun-seasoned hands shot into the air Saturday afternoon as the Tualatin Crawfish Festival's crawdad-eating contests came to an end.

And after the carcasses were counted and the hollow tails tallied, Mike Rossi, of Portland, was named the 2006 adult crawfish-eating champ. He packed away 97 crawdads' tails and claws in 15 minutes. Not exactly the local event record of 107, but for Rossi, he said it would do.

'Sure I've had that many in one sitting before,' the Mississippi native said, 'but never that fast.'

Kid champ for the fourth year in a row, Katie Ogden, 14, slurped down 34 crawdad tails in three minutes to retain her title.

'It's an embarrassing thing to be good at,' Ogden acknowledged as she fidgeted with her first-place medal.

Nine adults and eight kids helped to pack away 100 pounds of the finely seasoned crayfish during Saturday's contests.

'We count by those carcasses,' the judges repeatedly shouted during the adult contest. 'So you got to have clean claws and clean tails.'

The 56th annual Tualatin Crawfish Festival saw a total of 15,000 attendees, according to the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. About 12,000 people showed up for the Saturday events, which included food, fun and plenty of crawdad-eating competition.

The crowds gathered for one hour staring, not in awe or even in disgust, but in simple curiosity to witness exactly how someone eats four dozen crawfish in one sitting.

'Right now I'm pregnant, and I was craving crawfish,' said New Orleans native Jamie Voelker shortly after devouring 55 of the Cajun-flavored mudbugs.

Just minutes after the winners were announced, third-place adult contestant Jonathan Kaiser of Forest Grove strolled by the empty picnic tables with a beer and a tray of crawfish in his hands.

He smiled. Never mind that he just packed away 56 crawfish in 15 minutes, he wanted more.

'No, you can never have enough,' he said.

Rossi echoed that sentiment. The winner of the adult contest never removed his dark-tinted sunglasses as he shoved tray after tray of empty crawfish in front of him.

'I'm gonna go home and thank my fans,' Rossi said in his best southern drawl. 'Life on the crawfish eating contest road is tough. It gets lonely at times. Luckily I have my family to support me. Thanks ya'll.'

Results from the 2006 Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Adult Crawfish-Eating Contest results:

Mike Rossi - 97

Ash Aymond - 71

Jonathan Kaiser - 56

Jamie Voelker - 55

Kenneth Crowell - 52

Rita Vollmer - 48

Libby Bryan - 47

Wyle Khalifa - 43

Theresa Wilson - 24

Kid's Crawfish Eating Contest results:

Katie Ogden - 34

Jeff Cahill - 23

Elexis Treat - 10

Jared Schmidt - 8

Alex Schmidt - 6

Marcus Treat - 3

Parade Results:

Red Rain Dears - Antique Auto - 1st

Doug and Karen Wash - Antique Auto - 2nd

Tualatin Auto Body - Antique Auto - 3rd

Belong Hair Salon - Classic Auto - 1st

Tom Hahn Motors - Classic Auto - 2nd

Lady Slippers - Special Interest Auto - 1st

Riverwood Assisted Living - Special Interest Auto - 2nd

First Student - Special Interest Auto - 3rd

Community Partners for Affordable Housing - Drill/Dance Team - 1st

Tualatin Valley Baton Twirlers - Drill/Dance Team - 2nd

Mbank - Commercial Float - 1st

Happy Hearts Preschool - Non-Commercial Float - 1st

Tualatin Tomorrow - Non-commercial Float - 2nd

Winona Grange - Non-commercial Float - 3rd

Mayor Lou Ogden and Friends - Horse Group - 1st

Zuber Concrete - Horse Group - 2nd

Grace Community Church - Novelty -single - 1st

Haggen's Food and Pharmacy - Novelty - group - 1st

Tualatin Soccer Club - Youth Organization - 1st

Cub Scout Pack 35 - Youth Organization - 2nd

Tualatin Valley Preschool - Youth Organization - 3rd

Best Use of Theme - Belong Hair Salon

Atsa My Dawg Results:

Best Looking Dog:

1st - Eileen Biles and Miss Beulah (black and tan Coonhound)

2nd - Biles Family and Lord Michael (Scottish Deerhound)

3rd - Kim and Ariel (no breed identified)

Best Dog Trick:

1st - Naomi Shiraiwa and Jasmine (Pappilon)

2nd - Kelly Koglund and Buddy (black Lab) did the Hokey Pokey

Best Dressed Dog:

1st - Katie Bogert and Stella (pug) both dressed as matching Hula Girls

2nd - The Hubbard family and Titus (beagle) dressed in matching prison uniforms and caps

3rd - BJ Cerry and Sophia (Italian Greyhound), Sophia dressed in a poodle skirt

Frisbee Throw:

1st - Brad Parker and Ziggy (Border Collie)

2nd - Nick Kjemperud and Brandy (Chocolate Lab)

3rd - Naomi Shiraiwa and Jasmine (Pappilon)

Recipe Cook-Off:

1st - Haggen Food and Pharmacy, Chef James Valentine. Crawfish Sushi

2nd - Hayden's Lakefront Grill, Chef Robert Thomas. Crawfish and Andouille Skewers over Crawfish Cakes

3rd - Shrimply Delicious, Chef Ken Lucke. Crawfish Melts

People's Choice Award: Hayden's Lakefront Grill, Chef Robert Thomas