11 September 2022 - Written By


I am absolutely over the moon to host the League Of Fire – Chilli Eating Champions Americas Title Belt Match at Zest Fest produced by Spicy Food Productions in Dallas, Texas, on 1 October 2022.

I can’t wait to see a lot of people again and also to meet some for the very first time in person. Memories will be made and good times will be had I am sure.

The line-up for this Belt Match is SUPERB!

Buy your tickets for this outstanding festival and to witness this epic League Of Fire – Chilli Eating Champions battle in person here:


An official LOF Americas Belt Match is coming to TEXAS in October!

This will be the 3rd official chilli-eating contest for the prestigious RED BIRD Title Belt! Fourteen brave LOF Heroes are set to chomp through some mega-hot peppers, but only ONE can win the BELT!


I am very happy to talk about the competitors battling it out for the 3rd League Of Fire – Chilli Eating Champions Americas Title Belt Match taking place at Zest Fest, Dallas, Texas on 1 October 2022.

There are 13 contestants from 11 states in America – 2 from Texas, 2 from Arkansas, 1 from California, 1 from Washington, 1 from Florida, 1 from Maryland, 1 from Pennsylvania, 1 from South Carolina, 1 from Colorado, 1 from Nevada, and 1 from Southern Maine. There is also 1 contestant from Canada, taking the total to 14!

  • From Texas, we have Zachary ‘The Texas Hot Spot’ Goot and Jayson ‘Batpants’ Hairrell (Reigning LOF Americas Champion).
  • From Arkansas, we have Jared ‘Farmer J’ Smith and Bob ‘The Voice’ Gilbert.
  • From California, we have Eric ‘Midge’ Welbaum.
  • From Washington, we have Ruthie ‘Reaper’ Booth.
  • From Florida, we have Jason ‘The Degenerate’ Wamhoff.
  • From Maryland, we have Jayson ‘Late For Work’ Pettibone.
  • From Pennsylvania, we have Kris ‘The Scoville Unit’ Fragale.
  • From South Carolina, we have Katie’ Spicy’ Bannister.
  • From Colorado, we have Brandon ‘Honey Boy’ Collins.
  • From Nevada, we have Dustin ‘The Atomik Menace’ Johnson.
  • From Southern Maine, we have Joshua ‘Yosh’ Freitas.
  • From Canada, we have Mike ‘Molten Moose’ Jack (Undefeated LOF Americas Champion).

If I were to sit down and list all their achievements, this will be a very long blog so I will avoid in-depth details but suffice to say, there is a reason these contestants have been picked to compete for the Red Bird – the LOF Americas Title Belt!

I am blown away by their gumption to travel to Texas to represent their states/country and participate in the 3rd Americas Title Match! It shows great love, admiration, passion, and demand for LOF and its Red Bird and it’s lovely to see and hugely heart-warming and uplifting.

The 1st Americas Title Match was held at Heating up the Capital Festival in Canada on 4 September 2021, and the Belt was won by Mike Jack. Mike vacated the Belt for the 2nd Match to go ahead at West Coast Hot Sauce Experience in San Diego on 19 June 2022, as he was unable to travel to this event to defend his title. Here, the Belt was claimed by Jayson Hairrell.

I’m also deeply honoured to be hosting this in Dallas and I can’t wait to meet all these wonderful people in person, a lot of them for the first time as well as the organisers and the US chilli community members who will be present at the event. ❤❤❤🌶🏆😍🥇

I wanted to tell you all a little about each of the contestants in their own words – how they got into our weird and wonderful world of chilli and what it means to them to take part in the League Of Fire – Chilli Eating Champions Americas Title Belt Match.



“Hi. I’m Brandon. I live in Colorado, but I’ve lived all over the U.S.  My dad was in the navy, so I moved around a lot. Growing up, I lived in military housing, so my neighbourhood was a melting pot of culture. I got to experience a lot of spicy food growing up. 

I found the pepper community in 2019, right before Covid, and I fell in love with the people and the atmosphere. Soon after I became an admin for Facebook group Chasin’ Capsaicin and started really burning.

I started Pepper Fueled Dreams and focused on pepper tinctures and hot honey. When I’m not eating spicy stuff I’m a carpenter and I make counter tops. I love working with my hands and I do spicy crafts for my friends and active members in the pepper community. I make custom cutting boards and cross stitch embroidery; and they are a big hit.

I also do a huge pepper community project every year called ‘The Honey Pot’ and it brings together everybody in the community to make the spiciest honey you could ever have. The spicy community on Facebook is where I started doing challenges against my friends and fellow chilli-heads. I found the League of Fire along the way and wanted to push myself even more and climb up the ranks. I’m honoured to be a part of the Belt Match, and even though I’m an underdog, don’t count me out because I’m going to Dallas to win and I’m going to give it my all!”



“Hailing from Exeter, Pennsylvania, I started out with unusual food interests. My Opa (grandfather) used to take me and my older sister down to the garden as young kids to eat chives, onions, and garlic, fresh from the garden. I was the only one actually interested in the tasty treats.

At the age of 9 or 10, I gained an interest in table sauces – at times eating half a bottle of Louisiana sauce in a sitting with hot dogs. As the years went by, my taste for sauce evolved into a desire for heat!

That’s when my father started planting Jalapeños, Habaneros, and Ghost chilies, in his garden. It wasn’t long before I was flat out obsessed with the heat; I would try to get friends to enjoy the fire with me but no one would be daring enough.

Fast forward to 2020, the pandemic is going crazy and everyone is locked down. I decided it was time to evolve my Love for heat to the next level, and at that moment on September 13th, 2020, ‘The Scoville Unit’ was born!!!

Right off the bat, I found LOF and the amazing new heights I could take my love for heat to. I started taking on challenges not knowing what I was about to feel and my desire for more grew and grew!

The levels of heat were nothing I had ever felt and to this day I continue to push myself further and further to the point I am comfortable with even the highest levels of capsaicin now.

Being part of this event is an incredible feeling. The day I found out I was invited, I was honoured but a bit upset because I wasn’t able to participate. Between starting a new job and the cost to travel to the event at such short notice, I originally declined the invitation.

Needless to say, between family and friends and my new company I was starting at, it was made sure that my ass was on a flight to Dallas come October 1st.

The feeling is still overwhelming and if not more because I was headlined in both of my local newspapers. Never in a million years did I think that The Scoville Unit would grow to be what it is today!”



“I’m Jayson Hairrell and I reside in the great state of Texas. My introduction to the chilli world began with my brother and I daring each other to try his home grown super hot peppers. Later, the pandemic brought my wife and I the gift of starting our own garden, where I found growing tomatoes and cucumbers were just too boring. Weaponized fruit became my passion immediately. I later found myself following many fantastic groups on social media that introduced me to like-minded people, and the League of Fire.

Being part of an official League of Fire event is something I still cannot fathom, and to picture myself among many of the idols I thought were untouchable is an achievement I never thought I’d reach. Each and every competitor that will be on that stage has shown they are the ultimate heat eaters, the driven, the fire-breathing beasts of the community, and I’m proud to say I am one of them.”



“I’m from Texas in case anyone didn’t know… lol!

And going to this competition is the literal epitome of my entire chilli-head journey!

It will be the first time I get to meet some of these amazing people who inspire me daily! I have a hard determination to go as far as I possibly can in this competition and I will definitely give it my all as I’m sure most of my competitors will be doing the same.

It’s amazing to me how someone such as myself, who started this as a hobby when Covid started, could be sharing a stage with such amazing people and icons of the chilli community!

I was just out on a limb when I started The Texas Hot Spot, but now I realize the importance of my place in this community and I believe wholeheartedly that I’ve earned my spot at this table with my fellow competitors! Good luck to all! I love each and everyone of you!”



“I’ve broken multiple Guinness World Records earning myself half a page in the 2022 Guinness Book. I was also named “World’s Fastest Vegan” by Guinness World Records.

I was the first winner of the League of Fire Americas Belt and have currently won 5 consecutive pepper-eating competitions.

I have my own hot sauce made by Dawson’s Hot Sauce and $2 of every bottle sold goes to a different charity each month.

I also have my own show “Jack up the Heat” premiering on Rogers TV in Canada on September 19th.

I got into eating hot sauce 20 years ago almost as a dare, you know how 20-year-old guys are.

I got into eating peppers when I started my YouTube channel 6 years ago now called Mike Jack Eats Heat.

For me, being on the League of Fire stage at ZestFest is an opportunity to get the Belt back that I surrendered when I couldn’t attend the competition in San Diego.”



“The journey into the chilli scene was a bit of a rough start…I had started our YouTube channel and journey as just a fun outlet of doing challenges I had seen on other YouTube channels like “Main Event Pong”, “Beyond Seattle Eats” and “The Hot Dang Show”.

We started out doing volume chugs like “Badlands Chugs” and reviewing drinks. We met another small channel that did challenges and reviews like us and they had challenged us to do the “Hot Dang Show Bites”. We had no idea what they were and how hot they were. We were not even sure what “League of Fire” was at that time either…yet. We took on that challenge and failed; did not realize what capsaicin cramps were at the time either, until after this challenge that is. This took place on Jan 9th, 2021.

It was not until December of 2021, when I took on my official League of Fire challenge – the ‘Killer Queen Chug Challenge’! Since that moment, I have been in love with the heat. The adrenalin and endorphins you get from doing these challenges is amazing; the thrill and ride of the peppers is awesome!

I ate my first super hot pepper on June 13th, 2022; it was a Dragon’s Breath Strain and I did it live on Instagram with a few chilli-head friends. That was an incredible ride and I have not looked back since. The feeling of pushing myself through the pain and thrill of the moment is such a great feeling afterwards when the pain starts to settle. I am blessed to even have the chance to sit on stage with fellow legends and friends in the chilli community and enjoy yet battle eating some amazing peppers!

With the growth of our YouTube channel “Late For Work”, we have been pushing to spread autism awareness as well. My kid with Kim, got diagnosed with high functioning autism and I realized a lot of people do not understand what that means. We have been telling our stories and struggles, plus how we have learned and handled everything as we go along the journey with an autistic child. Rylie (our child) has also joined us in videos and helped give away things she has made to our supporters; she enjoys doing this as she is very creative with her imagination and love for everyone and all things pink!”



“Hi There!

My name is KTB Saucy! I have always been in love with spicy food & challenging myself.  The first pepper pod I ever ate was a jalapeño in the 10th grade on a dare. Kid told me he would give me $10 if I ate the whole thing. I ate it all in 1 bite. Hiccupping and scorched I asked for my $10 dollars. He scoffed, told me he didn’t have $10 and walked away laughing maniacally. I experienced my first burn in the middle of a school day with no milk on site.

While I may not have received the money that day, I received something so much greater, the love of spice!

I continued to do spice challenges well into adulthood.

I love pushing myself and seeing what I am capable of.

Spice has been my passion, hobby, and release for years.

In 2020, I began my own YouTube channel where I talked about my favorite hot sauces, and created a blog called “Story Behind the Sauce” where I would not only review the sauce itself but share what inspired the saucer to begin their journey in the first place.  As the YouTube channel and Blog began to grow in popularity, small batch sauce companies from all over the world began sending me their sauces to review. From there, I began reviewing everything from spicy snacks, to challenge items, and eventually pepper pods from small growers.

Thanks to my pepper grower friends, my TikTok page KTBSaucy skyrocketed in followers!

As my channel, tolerance and most importantly my love for the spice community began to grow, so did my ambition and the continued need to challenge myself.

In March of 2022, I decided to collaborate with the best small batch saucers to create KTBs Capsaicin Cave.

The Capsaicin Cave is located online at and in the Coastal Carolina Flea Market in Ladson SC. The store (affectionately referred to as ‘The Cap Cave’) has a main focus, and that is to continue helping small batch, small growers, get their name and products out to the world!

League of Fire and its contenders have been an integral part of growing not only The Capsaicin Cave, but the spice community.  Many of us are friends and have been for years. One thing that I like to focus on is that while it may appear as though we are trying to compete against each other, we are actually in competition with ourselves.

The League of Fire has given people like myself, my contenders and others, a healthy, fun, and supportive community. LOF has given us a place to grow friendships, test our limits, and see what we are truly made of, be that in the way of growing our social media presence, competing in contests, making spicy products, or just enjoying the burn.  I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of the League of Fire and hope to continue challenging myself for years to come.

Let’s Roll!”



“Hello! My name is Ruthie A.K.A. Ruthie ‘REAPER’ Booth!!! I’m based out of my hometown Olympia, Washington 🇺🇸 I’m married to my Best Friend, Bill Booth ~ who loves me, encourages me, & supports my Hot-n-Crazy Lifestyle!

I’ve Always Enjoyed Spicy Foods & Sauces! Have grown small varieties of 🌶 for personal home use & have even dabbled in making sauces, salsas, & jams!

However, over the last 3 years, I’ve Really Increased my Tolerance & ❤ for All Things Spicy! I’ve reviewed countless sauces & have accumulated approximately 400+ sauces! I Currently have 20 League of Fire Challenges completed! Putting me at #62 on the LOF World Rankings & at #48 in the LOF 2020-2021 Seasonal Rankings!

My Biggest Accomplishment to date was being invited by the LOF Co-Founder, Matt Tangent, to compete in the Official Americas Belt Match Chilli-Eating Contest at the West Coast Hot Sauce Experience at the Broadway Pier in San Diego in June!

Jayson ‘BATPANTS’ Hairrell & I were the last 2 at that table & I was Soooo Amazed by his incredible strength & determination! Jayson 💯% deserved that Belt! It was still definitely a proud moment for me too! As well as just an incredible weekend altogether!

To now once again be formally invited by my friend, Giovanni Jiff D’Aguanno, to participate at Zest Fest in TX is So Amazing! The chance to have a 2nd-Go at that Red Bird is such an incredible blessing! Am I Nervous?!..You Better Believe It!!! The Competitors are EXTRA EXTRA Hardcore!!! I will give it My Best Efforts though!!!

Above All the 🌶 Chompin’, it’ll be another wonderful memory with My Chilli-heads, My Friends, My Family. 🤗

I’m grateful beyond belief for this LOF Platform! All their hard work, dedication, & love for the chilli-head community doesn’t go unnoticed & is appreciated by so many!

I’m also 💯% Blown Away from all the Love & Support I’ve been shown on my “Gun’s and Reaper’s” YouTube & my other Social Media platforms 🙏 Y’all Totally ROCK!!!

I’m Excited for this opportunity! Honoured to compete next to my friends & Very Thankful for you all. 💕


❤ RUTHIE 🔥 🔥 🔥”



“Hi, I’m Dustin. I go by Atomik Menace. Atomik Menace stems from a fascination I’ve had with nuclear energy from when I was learning in school. The name itself came from a song I heard when I was young and the name stuck with me. It started as a joke but it seemed to fit well for the whole chilli-eating thing, and I’ve just run with it. Plus, “Dustin Johnson” is sort of taken by a certain golfer. Heh.

I’ve always loved spicy food. I didn’t quite know my talents until I found Johnny Scoville online and started with his tube of terror challenge. Once I joined several chili-head groups, I discovered through the people most passionate about this that I have an innate ability for eating chilli that is rare. I had no idea. From there, it’s snowballed into where I am today. I still love spicy food and though I may not post as much on social media, my consumption has never slowed down.

In general, I love the good sides of this community and it’s been an amazing experience. I’m looking forward to making more memories at this festival and having a great time. This is a very exciting match for me and I would be ecstatic to hold that Belt, especially since I hold the other current Belt holders in high regard. I think this will be a great contest.”



“Hello. My name is Joshua, but everyone calls me Yosh. I’m 28 years old and live in Maine with my wife, son, and daughter.

I was introduced into the world of spice at 8 years old when I was tricked into eating a Thai Chilli, however it wasn’t until I was in the Marine Corps that I began to dabble in the realm of extreme hot sauces. That was when my love for spice really began to blossom.

Fast forward to February of 2021 when I stumbled onto a Facebook group called Chasin’ Capsaicin which opened my eyes to the Chilli-Head Community and from there, I found many different groups of people from all over the world who shared my crazy love for all things spicy.

I quickly integrated all types of spice into my everyday life. From tinctures and sauces to powders and fresh pods, I quickly became dedicated to chasing the endorphin rush that comes with pushing past my limits and reaching new levels of heat.

The support from my family and newfound friends has pushed me to delve deep into the Chilli-Head Community and has led me to the extreme sport of Competitive Chilli-Eating and now I shall be taking my place on the table for the LOF Americas Title.

At the end of the day, being able to add spice to my life both in my cooking and as a hobby has made me an overall happier and more confident person. I hope to continue this lifestyle for years to come.”



“Being able to be on that stage to compete with some of my closest friends and top chilli-heads means the world to me. I never thought I would do something like this and now this is my 2nd competition.

LOF has definitely given me and so many other chilli-heads an added bonus to doing what we love by giving us world rankings. On top of that, they have so many tasty and extremely hot challenges that keep us all on our toes.

I’m very proud of what we all do in the community and consider a lot of members to be my family. I am the very proud owner of Creature Sauce Co where I make a variety of sauces ranging from mild to super hot, including BBQ sauce and Teriyaki sauce. The possibilities are endless. The End.”



“Ladies and Gentlemen… Boys and Girls!

Let me introduce myself!!! My name is Bob D. Gilbert, also known as “Bob, the Voice”.  I’m honoured to share with you that Jif the Fireman gave me that nickname.

I live in Jacksonville, Arkansas, with my lovely, supportive wife Charlene.  I have 4 children and 3 grandchildren (they call me pop pop). I’m known for my ringmaster voice and my love for all things spicy.

I began pepper eating in the late 70’s, early 80’s. My grandmother grew chilli peppers and I enjoyed eating them. My dad witnessed this and entered me into a pepper-eating contest, and I won! Mind you, I was seven years old.

A few years go by and I get sent off to children’s homes and foster care…and I spend some time in juvenile hall and rehab. As a way to earn money, I found myself chugging bottles of Louisiana Hot Sauce for $5 if I finish.

I started growing habaneros later in life which were the hottest peppers in the world at that time. I used to punish my kids by making them pick my peppers, I’m sure they’re still not happy about that. In 2019, I kill off all my pepper plants (unfortunately, I’m the grim reaper of greenery), and Jared Smith who we all know as Farmer J, sees my post and brings me new seedlings. I was flabbergasted by his generosity and then became a member of Chasin’ Capsaicin – a Facebook chilli group. This was my introduction into the chili community.

It was difficult at first, for me to believe people could be so kind. I became a part of the community and started doing chilli challenges and gained ranking in the League of Fire. I obtained notoriety in 2020 by winning ‘The Hurt Me Daddy’ Chilli-Eating Contest. Everyone was surprised; especially me!

My hobbies include creating YouTube videos; though I’ve recently transitioned most of my videos to TikTok. I enjoy making spicy concoctions, especially several varieties of Bob’s Spicy Salt.

I am a true American Patriot. I also spend a lot of time with my wife, children, and grandchildren; I love them very much. I’m so lucky to have Charlene.

I admit that sometimes my social and emotional reactions are a reflection of my past; I sometimes offend people unknowingly. I want to apologize to anyone I might have hurt recently. I’m deeply sorry.

I appreciate all the close friendships I’ve made in the chilli community. I am aiming to win the League of Fire Red Bird Americas Belt at the champion chilli-eating competition at Zest Fest in Texas!! But, I am just honoured to have a seat next to the biggest names in chilli-eating, not only in the USA, but from all over the world. I feel like I’m going to be at a rock concert where I somehow got backstage passes.

I can’t wait to meet you, UK Chilli Queen, you’re gonna have to take a selfie with me!!!”



“In 2019, the League of Fire had just put out their first chug. I made it my mission to get on board in 2020. I was able to do that. Now here it is 2022, and I’ll be sharing the stage with some of my closest friends. I’m honoured beyond words.

Picture it, Sicily 1922…

Just kidding! Hey everyone I’m Jared Smith. My fellow pepper-heads call me “FJ.” A fun loving pepper-head from Arkansas who just wants to make people smile.

In 2019, I was growing exotic super hot peppers for the first time. Well, you can’t grow something without seeing what it tastes like. I would challenge myself to eat samples from my garden without running to put out the fire consuming me… (not real fire…easy there, Jif).

Later that season, I was offered the Paqui one chip challenge. I fell in love with the burn, and the community. The biggest thing that most people don’t realize about the pepper community is the camaraderie. When I saw that the League of Fire was launching, and the names of the people I had been following were listed, I knew I wanted to walk among them. I made it my goal in 2020 to join the LOF.

Fast forward to 2022, and I’m about to sit on the stage with my heroes and friends. Watched by the world as I compete for the LOF Americas Belt. Regardless of who carries the Belt home, that day will be forever burnt into my heart as one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Solidification that I’m where I’m supposed to be…”



“I’m an everyday guy with a love for spicy things. If it’s hot, I want to try it.

We have a travel related YouTube channel (Degenerate Cruisers) so when we weren’t traveling we would post hot challenges to stay active and connected with our friends. One night a friend suggested we try a thing called the Death Nut. It was smoking hot! I saw the League of Fire logo on the box and discovered more challenges.

My friends and I would do challenges when we would get together. We did the MOAB bar and my challenge was denied for points for not being entirely on camera. Rather than be upset, I used it as motivation. My new year’s resolution was to get in the top 100 of all time. In March, I made my goal and along the way rose to 19th for the season.

I had questions and kept doing research about capsaicin and its effects on the body to keep pushing my boundaries. My questions lead me to Steve Berlant of Old Agness Store who referred me to Ryan Thomas of Facebook group – Capsaicin Crew. He noticed I liked the burn and extended me an invite to Cap Crew.

There’s an old saying “Look at your friends, there’s your future.” And that sums up how I got here!

I’ve made so many friends and learned so much it would be impossible to thank each of the ladies and gentlemen in our community for their support, wisdom, and friendship.

I’m looking forward to meeting and competing with these very talented people!”

And there you have the 14 contestants for the 3rd LOF Americas Title Belt Match!

League Of Fire has just made an announcement that Troy Primo and his Wrecking Crew will be providing the pain for this match where current champion Jayson “Bat Pants” Hairrell from Texas, having won the Belt in San Diego, California, will defend his title on his home turf.

The line-up will include Big Peach Mamma, Big Mustard Mamma, Death Spirals, and of course the one and only 7-POT PRIMO. 🔥🔥🔥

Enough to strike fear into the hearts of any competitive heat eater!

The match will take place at 1:00 pm Central on Saturday, 1 October.

League Of Fire has also just announced that there will be an official, sanctioned LOF chilli-eating competition on Sunday, 2 October, at 1:00 pm Central at the same event.



  • 10 spaces. First come, first served! ❤️
  • Sign-up at the event all day Friday and Saturday or on Sunday morning at the Cajohns Hot Shots Distributing Stall or by email BEFORE midnight on Saturday!
  • Email:
  • Find LOF ambassador, Jif the Fireman, at the event to answer any questions.
  • Zest Fest! Market Hall, Dallas.
  • Zest Fest produced by Spicy Food Productions
  • TICKETS and info:

Peppers for this match will also be supplied by Troy Primo and his Wrecking Crew!