You’re enjoying a stout style beer called Oatimus Prime, rich and dark and pleasing to the palate, when the bagpipes begin. The pipers enter in procession, followed by a regal figure carried on a litter. The most distinguishing feature on said figure (you notice, as he is lowered and descends from his royal chair) is his magnificent facial hair: two mutton chops, large and long and groomed to perfection. The entire crowded room raises dark pints, snifters and tulips to him as he strides to center stage and makes his annual proclamation. Later, he will reign over other mutton-chop wielding characters as they compete for the title of Best Chops.
He is the Chop King, and the ceremony over which he presides is Mountain Sun pub’s Chop Contest, the culminating event which takes place at the end of February, otherwise known to Mountain Sun loyalists as Stout Month.
Eighteen years ago, Tim McMurray and some other male Mountain Sun staffers decided to appear at work one day with chops. For the shock factor, of course. This whimsical addition to Stout Month caught on, and as customers joined the staffers in their hirsute hobby, the Chop Contest was born.
Think this event sounds a bit silly? Perhaps so, but the prizes that go to the winners of the Chop Contest are nothing to sneeze at:
- 1st Place: 3 organic pork chops, a $200 Mountain Sun gift certificate, 1/6 of a barrel of Mountain Sun beer
- 2nd Place: 2 organic pork chops, a $100 Mountain Sun gift certificate, a half gallon of Mountain Sun beer
- 3rd Place: 1 organic pork chop, a $50 Mountain Sun gift certificate, a quart of Mountain Sun beer
Know how much a sixth of a barrel is? A lot. It’s a lot of beer.
Don’t have the necessary secondary sex characteristics to compete? No problem: cut your hair into an epic mullet and win a prize of your own.
This year, Mountain Sun on Pearl Street in Boulder holds their Chop contest on February 28th. The Longmont and Denver establishments (Long’s Peak and Vine Street pubs, respectively) will be holding their own Chop contests as well: Longmont on the 26th at 8pm, and Denver on the 27th at 10pm. And yes, you chopped gents (and mulleted lads and ladies) out there can indeed compete in all three contests, potentially winning at each!
One tip from me, a previous attendee of the event: since the votes for Chop Contest prize winners are all from the audience of spectators, the contestants will be campaigning hard to solicit votes (sometimes they even offer bribes in the form of candies or toys or poetry). Arriving to the event early will mean that you’ll be able to get in (getting there even earlier means you can claim a table as your fiefdom), and you’ll have the opportunity to more thoroughly enjoy the characters the contestants portray. The Chop Contest is a very popular event, and the place fills to the gills fast, so be ready to get there early, chill with the myriad stouts on tap, and see who’s got the chops to win this year.
Photo Credit: Mountain Sun