Averaging a waffle a minute, firefighter Derrick Crews took home the championship waffle-eating trophy Thursday night. Sponsored by the Waxahachie Waffle House, members of the Waxahachie Fire Department were invited to see who could eat the most waffles in three minutes.

The contest was supposed to pit three firemen against an EMS crew; however, the EMS unit was called out at the last minute. Still, firemen David Maeker, Dusty Griffin and Crews lined up at the bar, where they were joined by Lindsey Howz, a customer at the restaurant who pitted her skills against the three hungry men.

Cook Jess Estrada began heating up the griddles, loading them up with the batter.

“I’ll start off with about 20, then cook more if needed,” Estrada said.

Organizing the contest was district manager Jason Crews, who also is brother to Derrick Crews.

“We have had these contests in the past and will hold them again in the three stores in this district, Waxahachie, Ennis and Corsicana,” Jason Crews said, describing the contest as a way to reach out into the community. The restaurant wants to develop relationships and let people know it is a family business and its customers’ business is appreciated.

“Contestants have three minutes to eat as many waffles as they can. They can add butter, syrup, drink water or use water to dip them in,” Jason Crews said, noting he gave the same advice to all of the contestants: to simply eat as many waffles as they could in the allotted time.

So far, the area record is an Ennis youth who downed seven in the three-minute time limit, he said.

“Sure I’ll give a try,” Howz said while lining up her waffles and tearing them into pieces for fast consumption. Howz, who came in third, received all of the remaining waffles as a consolation prize.

As the clock ticked, the contestants dipped, scraped and packed in the waffles stacked in front of them.

Jason Crews kept track of the time, calling out when the one-minute mark was reached.

As the seconds ticked away, the four continued picking away at their stacks until “times up” was called.

After a close count, Derrick Crews was declared the winner with three waffles consumed, followed by Dusty Griffin in second place.

After the trophy presentation, Derrick Crews was asked what his secret to success was. “Do breathe,” he responded.

Regional manager James Tarpen was on hand to discuss the history of the company’s waffle contest, saying it started at the home office in Atlanta, Ga.

“It is a big event held on an outdoor stage with several contestants,” he said. “The local contests are much smaller, but just as much fun.”