NORTH EAST — The crumbs were flying and the guts tested during a doughnut eating competition at Chesapeake Bay Coffee Co. on Friday, which was National Doughnut Day.

Chris Mullins, owner of the 3-year-old coffee shop on Main Street in North East, said State Farm insurance agent Karen Michaels approached him with the idea a few weeks ago.

“They come down to get doughnuts all the time to take to different businesses and so they reached out to us about doing a doughnut eating challenge for National Doughnut Day,” he said. “We thought it was a great idea and got a batch whipped up for them this morning.”

It’s not the first eating challenge at Chesapeake Bay Coffee Co., which has held about 10 of them over the years, but only three people have completed the challenge to date. To earn the distinction of a challenge winner, a participant has to down a dozen of the shop’s handmade custom doughnuts in 10 minutes.

All of the proceeds from the shop’s challenge benefits Shop With A Cop Cecil County, which provides Christmas gifts for county children in need. Mullins said it is an effort close to his heart, because through the most difficult periods in his childhood, his mother always made sure to set enough aside for her children to have a joyous Christmas.

After providing coffee and doughnuts to one of the SWAC events in recent years and learning more about the organization supported by local law enforcement officers, Mullins became a big supporter and began donating all of his shop’s time and resources to the cause.

On Friday, five of Karen Michaels’ employees, including risk advisors Rob Bowersox and Lindsey Faciane, and summer marketing interns Marissa Sipala, Chloe Kennedy and Emmitt Best, tested their stomaches in tackling the challenge.

While none of them came close to besting the challenge, Bowersox took home the office bragging rights despite a late effort by Faciane.

“Once the idea started floating around, it wasn’t hard to convince me to take 30 minutes off work to eat doughnuts,” said Bowersox, who finished about six and a half doughnuts in the time limit. “I was shooting for the full 12, but I just tried to get as many down as I could. It’s not easy.”

Although all fun and games for a good cause, he said that he came with a game plan.

“I heard the person who had the fasting time eating a dozen would crush them up, so I went that route,” he said. “I started with the ones that were my least favorite and worked my may to my favorites, so that way if I didn’t finish I at least got to keep my favorites for later.”

Faciane was able to down two doughnuts with about three minutes left to finish right on Bowersox’s heels, but she said she had to hit the brakes.

“I really wanted to beat him but I thought if I had one more that I was going to be sick, so I thought it was best to stop,” she said with a laugh.

Faciane, who estimated that she had only ever eaten two doughnuts in one sitting before Friday’s competition, set a goal of a half dozen in the 10-minute time limit, which she was able to complete.

“It didn’t ruin the doughnuts for me either,” she said, noting it left a half dozen doughnuts for her to take home. “I think it’s great that it supports our local businesses and nonprofits, so this was a two-for-one.”

Although National Doughnut Day may be past, anyone can try the dozen-doughnut challenge by coming into Chesapeake Bay Coffee Co., with proceeds going to SWAC, Mullins said.

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