Not many people would drink a well-blended mix of tuna fish, Vienna sausages, ranch dressing and other condiments but four teachers at Cottonwood Elementary School did.

"It was ... eww," said Russ Tice, a teacher at Cottonwood. "It was rough. But the kids they got such a blast out of it."

Tice was one of 10 teachers and school staff that participated in a "Fear Factor"-themed challenge for Howl-a-palooza, an event held every six weeks at Cottonwood exclusively for students that have met four criteria: no more than two absences, no behavior problems and 90 percent of homework and classwork completed.

The students also got to see their principal, Chris Mauger, and their vice principal, Matt Sheffield, take the "nuclear wings" challenge eat six hot wings in six minutes without drinking any milk or water.

The "nuclear" wings, which were provided by Beef 'O' Brady's, are chicken wings basted in a recipe that the manager of Beef's, Marchal Mulligan, says is a secret.

"My face is on fire," said Sanna Bartlebough, the school's Parent Teacher Committee treasurer and contestant of the nuclear wing eating contest. "They were the hottest thing I've ever eaten."

Mauger, who won the competition, agreed.

"This was the part that I feared the most," Mauger said of the wing-eating contest, which is a scaled-down version of the "15 wings in 15 minutes" challenge that is typically held at Beef 'O' Brady's. "The kids love it though, so we may have to do it again."

Mauger said that the students get to choose which events they liked the most at the end of the year and they'll get to do them again. Some of the activities they've done included a dunk tank, pie-in-the-face and "minute-to-win-it."

"It's great to see that the kids are excited about this," Mauger said. "It keeps kids involved in school, which is where they need to be at."

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at