I met with Chad Garyet and his girlfriend Nagisa Takahashi on last Wednesday at Home Slice. I met Chad for the first time at the 2010 Hands On a Eggplant Sub Contest, where he placed 3rd. We went out to the back patio and discussed his participation in the 2010 Carnival, and his intentions to take the title on this upcoming Carnival 2012.
Phil: Can you recall your fondest memory from the 2010 Carnival O Pizza?
Chad: There are two, really. The first was when my Mom brought Battleship. I played anyone. I played my Mom, my Dad, the other competitors. Everyone.
Phil: Nice. What’s the other memory?
Chad: It was that second morning you came by to watch over us from 4:00 AM – 6:00 AM and brought your guitar. It was really fun. You told us all those war stories from when you were a bartender in New York. Like the time you set yourself on fire…
Phil: Those were good times. Hanging out with you guys. Not so much the setting myself on fire part. Any moments of craziness in your time with the hand on the sub?
Chad: Midnight of Sunday. This woman came by with a yappy little dog. You know, one of those tiny yap-yap-yap dogs. So there we are, where we’ve been for about 30 hours at that point, and up comes the woman with the dog. I pet the dog. So there I am, one hand in the sub and one hand petting this woman’s yappy dog and up comes this big German shepherd. The German shepherd starts barking at the yappy dog. The yappy dog starts freaking out. The German shepherd starts lunging for the yappy dog. And there I am in the middle of it with one hand on the dog, and one hand on the sub.
Phil: How about a moment of clarity?
Chad: It was when I knew I wasn’t going to win. It was down to the three of us: me, Sonia, and Lauren. It was right after the point Lauren started feeling sick. She went white. I mean, WHITE. I thought for sure she was done for. But no. Lauren just kept on. Stoic. I realized then and there I wasn’t going to beat her; and I realized second gets nothing better than third. I mean, I’d already won the bottle of wine for raising the most money. And I was staring at the tip jar. I kept thinking that I’d done enough, competed long enough. It kind of felt that taking second and losing was less honorable than walking away with third place on my own volition. It was like a tactical move.
Phil: Any advice you want to give this year’s crop of competitors.
Chad: I’m going to compete this year so I’m going to have to take the fifth.
Chad and I talk off record regarding some alterations he’s making to his approach this year. He’s been busy thinking about this, people.
Phil: Can you tell us anything about preparation?
Chad: I’m going to stay off my feet until the last minute. Also, I’m not coming to the event until the last minute. Last time around I got to the Carnival right when it started @ noon. The competition didn’t start until 5:00. That was five extra hours of standing I didn’t need to do. The Carnival was really fun; don’t get me wrong. But I’m in it to win and I’m not doing any extra standing this year. I’m also going to stay up late and wake up maybe an hour before the competition. The sleep thing is a pretty big deal.
Phil: What about footwear?
Chad: I’m not going to tell you about this year (he told me; it’s pretty cool but confidential) but last time it was sandals and bare feet.
Phil: And how’d that work out for you?
Chad: Not a good idea. Not a good idea at all.
Phil: Why is this competition special to you?
Chad: Because before it was just a restaurant, and now I really know what Home Slice is all about, and that’s because I got to know it through that competition. I mean, everyone who works at Home Slice really seems to love it, to love the thing they’re doing. I know people who say it’s just another pizza shop, but they’re wrong. Home Slice is really pretty special.
Phil: I gotta say, your support team was pretty impressive.
Chad: Yeah, my parents and friends are really awesome. My Mom spent like 10-15 minutes every day just rubbing my legs. Scott, my high school friend hung out through the entire first night while my parents went home and slept. Scott also took care of Miyaa (Chad’s cat). But that’s fair because I’ve taken care of his cat too.
Phil: Nagisa, are you prepared to stand by and support Chad through all of this?
Nagisa: I can’t drive. But I’ll get a ride from his parents and support him.
Phil: What frightens you in a competitor, Chad?
Chad: Sonia’s huge family for sure. I mean, there were ALWAYS there. Just so much support. That was pretty intimidating. And Lauren’s stoicism. Her strength and perseverance. I’m pretty sure I’m going to win this year because Lauren isn’t competing.
Phil: What inspires you?
Chad: That same strength and perseverance. It was so amazing when she came back from feeling sick and just stuck with it. It was totally inspiring.
Phil: Even though you took third, do you still consider yourself a H.O.E.?
Chad: Absolutely. I’m infamous at the place I used to work for being that crazy guy who did that crazy thing. When I was doing the competition I started posting a pic an hour on face book. By the end I had tons of people following it, following me. People still look at those pics. People still recognize me from it. But it’s bigger than that. Being a H.O.E. showed me what I could do, what I was capable of.
Phil: What was it like when you put your hand in the sub?
Chad: It was like cleaning dog poop. Except without the bag that you put your hand in to pick up the poop. It wasn’t anything worse than I’ve dealt with before, really. And, actually, afterwards my hands were really soft for like a month. Like really nice and soft. People remarked on it.
We know that since last year’s Hands on an Eggplant Sub contest went 63 hours, the prospect of entering this year’s must seem pretty daunting. We thought we’d put together a brief history of the contest so you realize it doesn’t have to be that hard.
Here are some highlights from the last 5 years:
2006 – Lasted 14 hours – called at 3:30am by us as a tie – we simply did NOT expect anyone to last that long and were unprepared to monitor through the night. The prize that year was the most amazing thing Apple had ever invented: the iPod Nano. Since it was a tie, both winners got one.
The weather was below freezing and neighborhood folk were by their side through the night, throwing 100 dollar bills and 50’s their way in hopes of talking them in to giving up. They both had friends bring them sleeping bags and used jars to relieve themselves. Back then we didn’t announce the contest before hand so they signed up on the spot on a whim.
2007 – 31 hours – This was the last year of no bathroom breaks. The final 2 contestants reached the point where neither could hold it any longer so they made a truce to share the prize. They simultaneously both took their hands off and peed their respective pants. The prize? The appropriately named Nintendo Wii.
Little did they know we would make them come back to do a Home Slice “trivia off” in front of a packed restaurant to break the tie. The winner was a man named Dimitri. We think he hocked the Wii.
2008 – 7 hours – Seth Mazow won by sheer luck. Says Seth on his Year of the Pizza blog.: “The first competitor was a high school kid who dropped out when his mom picked him up, the second thought it would last for days and gave up because she wanted to go to a play the next day. Sonia, the fiercest of the bunch was in it for the long haul, but in one regrettable moment accidentally took her hand off the sub to readjust her blankets, thus forfeiting”. The prize was 1 year of free pizza.
2009 – 30.5 hours – Seth Mazow won again this time by sheer skill and preparedness. Erin (his fiancee) was the runner up. They both came prepared to win, according to Seth they had “layers of warm clothes, logo’d stress mats to stand on, sleeping bags to huddle in and had dehydrated bodies”. They secured another year of free pizza for them both.
2008 runner up Sonia missed the contest because we told her the wrong start time for the contest:(
One other thing of note from that year was that in the middle of the freezing, rainy night, a seemingly drunk driver in an SUV jumped the curb and sped directly towards all of the HOES, knocking over a stanchion and velvet rope before coming to a stop mere inches from them. NOT ONE of the competitors took their hands off the sub, despite their impending doom. The Competitor closest to the SUV, Giselle, is now one of our beloved employees.
2010 – 63 hours – yes…you are correct…pure insanity! We were certainly not expecting that.
We introduced Sponsor a H.O.E., in which the contestants had to be sponsored to compete by their friends and family. Sonia came back again and again she showed the determination and grit that served her so well in 2008. This time she was up against an equally determined Lauren Shugart. As the contest stretched into its 3rd morning and Fox 7 prepared for a live shot, Sonia accidentally removed her hand and Lauren was crowned the winner.
For you potential 2011 H.O.E.S., rest assured that we here at Home Slice will be doing everything in our power to make sure it never goes this long again. Not to take anything away from the respect we have for the amazing group that made it further than anyone, before but we don’t want to get anyone hurt!
2011 – ???
Since apparently Lauren and Sonia’s amazing feat from 2010 has discouraged anyone from giving it a try in 2011, we have decided to add a new twist: we are going to allow contestants to raise money DURING the contest. It will work like this:
- Contestants will be able to reach out to their network online using social media/email etc… to raise money online while keeping a hand on the sub.
- Bathroom breaks are 5 minutes every 10 hours; the top earner at each break will receive an extra minute for each $50 they have raised.
Sound good? Apply now.
Yes the rumors are true, you CAN win free pizza for a year at the Carnival O Pizza. How you ask? There are 2 ways:
- You can out eat everyone in the Pizza Eating Contest.
- You can leave your hand on a sandwich longer than anyone else in Hands on an Eggplant Sub (H.O.E.S).
Here’s what you should know:
- To compete in either contest you gotta apply so we can make sure you are serious about competing.
- There is a small entrance fee for each contest, all of which goes to our charity for the Carnival, Austin Bat Cave.
- For the Eating Contest we are only taking 8-10 applicants so get your app in soon and make it awesome.
- For H.O.E.S, once you accepted into the contest, we ask that you get your friends to sponsor you online at Sponsor a H.O.E. You have to raise $50 in pledges to qualify; the money goes straight to Austin Bat Cave. Highest earner gets a special prize!
- Check out these Rules for Hands on an Eggplant Sub
The contestants for the “Hands on an Eggplant Sub” contest have been chosen! For the last two years HOES was dominated by Seth Mazow, who wrote the blog Year of the Pizza. Seth has relocated to California and will not be defending his title, which has left the competitors chomping at the bit to snag the title and the free year of pizza. To spice up the competition, the 2008 runner up Sonia Rellano is especially hungry for the win.
This year, the HOES are raising money for Habitat Young Professionals. Each contestant needs to raise $50 for HYP in order to participate. Visit their First Giving fundraising pages and give some love to a HOE for a good cause.
Check out the official HOES rules.
Sponsor a H.O.E during the Home Slice Carnival O’ Pizza’s favorite Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest and raise dough for Habitat for Humanity.
We are adding a hilarious new twist to their already wacky Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest (HOES) that takes place during the fall Carnival O’ Pizza – the ability to sponsor a contestant, or H.O.E.
The infamous contest, inspired by the 1998 S.R. Bindler documentary Hands on a Hard Body, chronicling a competition where people stand for hours with their hands on a pick up truck in order to win it, challenges competitors to keep their hands on a deliciously cheesy Home Slice eggplant sub for as long as they can. The prize for the last one touching? Free Home Slice pizza for a year!
During the past four years of HOES competitions it had become tradition for standers-by to fill tip jars to encourage the contestants to persevere, and sometimes to give up. Now Home Slice is taking the tip jar one step further, and this year, Hands on an Eggplant Subbers can only compete if they’ve raised at least $50 – and hopefully more – for the carnival beneficiary, Habitat Young Professionals (HYP), before the contest begins. Home Slice will set competitors up with a personalized web page where friends, family and coworkers can visit and sponsor their H.O.E. with any amount they see fit. In addition to the good feeling that comes with giving back to the community, the H.O.E that raises the most money, regardless of the outcome of the contest, will win a special prize. “This contest is always one of the highlights of the carnival for us,” says Home Slice Pizza owner Joseph Strickland, “and this year we’ve added the opportunity to get more people involved and raise money for a worthy cause.” In the past, contestants have stood as long as 31 hours and last year’s winner, Seth Mazow, chronicled his experience as a Home Slice regular on his blog, The Year of the Pizza.
The Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest will be held during the Home Slice Carnival O’ Pizza which takes place on Saturday, November 20 from 12 to 7pm. Contestants