Hot Enough to Fry an Egg? Contestants Find Out
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
We all know that Arizona gets hot in the summertime - really, really hot. How hot? you say. Well, hot enough to quite literally fry an egg on the sidewalk, lots of eggs actually. Every Independence Day, the town of Oatman, Arizona, population 159, holds the annual Solar Egg Frying Contest. Hundreds flock to the city to watch contestants sizzle their eggs to perfection using everything from magnifying glasses to homemade contraptions.
Fred Eck is the founder of the contest, now in its 16th year. In his other life, he's the manager of Labor Ready. That's a temp agency in Bullhead City, Arizona. Fred Eck joins us now and Fred, tell us about the rules to that contest before we get started.
Mr. FRED ECK (Solar Egg Frying Contest, Oatman, Arizona): Okay, the rules of the game is - can you hear this? I want to tell the folks here at the same time.
NORRIS: Okay. I can hear you just fine.
Mr. ECK: The rules of the game is you get two eggs. Each team will get two eggs. When they get these eggs, when we count off the five, four, three, two, one, everyone will break their eggs and put it on the sidewalk or in the device of their choice in order to cook them without the use of any kind of fire.
They must use solar heat and solar heat only. We have a defending champion here, two years in a row, she's here getting ready to put hers together and challengers all the way up and down the street. This is the 16th annual Invitational Sidewalk Egg Fry on old Route 66 in Oatman, Arizona, where the temperature is roughly about 105 degrees, no wind and beautiful blue sky, and we're just about ready to get started.
So if you're about ready, we're going to give the go ahead. We're going to have a gunshot into the air, which is a double-barrel shotgun, blanks of course, and when he does that, we'll be under way and I'll let you know what's happening.
NORRIS: Okay, we'll get some play-by-play from you once they get started. Let's go.
Mr. ECK: That's right, okay. So who has the watch? Mary? Cookers ready? Okay. Five, four, three, two, one, go.
(Soundbite of gunshot)
Mr. ECK: Okay, crack your eggs and away we go. On this, of course, everybody's a winner. Nobody loses and of course the prime winner will get a medal and a trophy and probably a three-day, two-night stay at one of our hotel casinos in Laughlin, Nevada. So we have approximately, I think, 25 cookers, ages probably from two years old to, well, senior citizens.
NORRIS: Fred, before the egg really starts to cook, while we've got a little bit of time here, can you look down and describe some of the devices that the contestants are using to fry their eggs?
Mr. ECK: Sure. I sure can. Okay, the defending champion, she has, it looks like a small white pan with handles on it. This is quite a device and she won it two years in a row. We'll see if anybody can beat her. Right next to her we have two guys and they got their eggs in an aluminum pie pan and it looks like a mirror and a CD. Now the man next to these guys has a device that looks like a black tray with a magnifying glass and on top of that, he's holding a big magnifying glass over the top of that, directing the sun right to the egg, so I guess he's cooking it in sections, much like a laser.
NORRIS: It sounds like your defending champion has some competition there.
Mr. ECK: Yes. She's got a good competitor here. Okay, everybody not in the cook-off here, please get out of this area, please. You're going to be blocking the sun. Okay, sorry about the blast in the ear.
NORRIS: Now Fred, listen. I've got a show to do, so I'm going to let you go for just a minute and we promise to check back on you in just a bit.
Mr. ECK: Okay, I'm going to keep the line open and I'll keep this right on my ear and just holler at me when you're ready.
Mr. ECK: Okay, thanks.
NORRIS: That's Fred Eck, the founder of the annual Solar Egg Frying Contest in Oatman, Arizona, on old Route 66.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.