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It takes a cool customer to hang on to your guts and not hurl while eating increasingly hot chillies.
Eleven hardy souls chomped and choked as the crowd cheered during the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs at The Dish cafe and bar last week.
Flaming Sons of the South organiser and master of ceremonies Stu Dreaver said building stamina was the best way for contestants to prepare.
"They should be heaping the sauce on to everything — hot sauce, eating chilli's, building your tolerance up."
The rules were simple, no drinking, no leaving the stage and no throwing up.
Qualified medics were available to help anyone in trouble but Mr Dreaver said they had not had any problems.
"The thing is with chilli the body will reject it and you're pretty much right — we've got milk we've got yoghurt, we've got lots of things to help the contestants after the competition."
After some gruelling knockout rounds Stefan Johnson, of Dunedin, managed to hold on to his nerve and stomach contents long enough to be declared the winner.
He was looking forward to heading to the final of the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs at Auckland brewery Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen on September 24.
"It is on my birthday so I want to bring it back for Dunedin."