A BYU-Idaho student won $500 Wednesday in a pancake-eating competition sponsored by Vantage Marketing.

Otto Hoekstre, a junior studying exercise physiology, downed 16 and a half pancakes in ten minutes, the highest amount out of the 13 contestants.

“I was cruising at the end,” Hoekstre said. “I knew I had a whole pancake on the (next runner-up).”

Vantage Marketing, a pest control marketing company, sponsored the event.

“It’s a good way for us to come up here and help students,” said Mitchell Cottle, a Vantage manager. “They get some free food and a chance to win $500. But it’s also a good way for us to bring people in.”

Students arrived at the Vantage Marketing office at 6 p.m., hungry and optimistic about their pancake-eating abilities.

Craig Spjute, a Vantage Marketing equity partner, prepares pancakes ahead of the feeding frenzy.

Craig Spjute, a Vantage Marketing equity partner, prepares pancakes ahead of the feeding frenzy. Photo credit: Liberty Gonzalez

“You have to start slow and then speed up,” said Kailyn Daniel, a freshman studying elementary education and one of the contestants. “We looked up food-eating competition tips online beforehand to prepare.”

Competitors face disqualification for vomiting. Besides the time limit and the vomit rule, the competition was straightforward: eat to win.

Midway into the ten-minute competition most of the contestants slowed, their appetites waning. By the ten-minute mark, only two contestants were still eating.

Hoekstre received his prize money immediately following his victory via Venmo.

“Winning is a great feeling,” said Hoekstre. “It’s 500 bucks!”

The pancake-eating champion, Otto Hoekstre (left), with his wife, Lizeth Hoekstre (right), and their son, Henry (center).

The pancake-eating champion, Otto Hoekstre (left), with his wife, Lizeth Hoekstre (right), and their son, Henry (center). Photo credit: Liberty Gonzalez

Although Vantage sponsors the event to bring in potential summer sales recruits, the food-eating competition also serves as community outreach.

“I feel like there’s this bad connotation towards summer sales,” said Cottle, “It’s a challenging job, going out and knocking doors… but it helps you level up and grow personally. The mission of Vantage is to help individuals grow into the people they want to become.”