Fear Factor at DeBoard

Taylor Ross, 9, right, shows her brother, Denny Ross, 11, a gummy rat she face-dived for in a plate of spaghetti Thursday during a spring break Fear Factor game at DeBoard Terrace. At left is opponenent Nya Blake, 9.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out what chocolate pudding, a few Tootsie Rolls and some raisins look like when spread in a disposable diaper. The same is true of a toilet bowl filled with pineapple juice, Mountain Dew and chunks of a Baby Ruth candy bar.

For the two dozen participants in Thursday’s National Lights On After School Day “Fear Factor” event, the gross-out factor was all part of the fun.

“We’re eating gross things and digging things out of gross stuff,” said Mica Williamson, public housing manager at DeBoard Terrace.

Other challenges presented equal opportunities to provide a punch to weak stomachs. Trays of kitty litter, laced with squished Tootsie Rolls, concealed keys to rubber handcuffs; plastic spiders and candy rats were hidden in plates of mushroom-laden spaghetti waiting for a brave participant to reveal them — typically by using their faces to push the piles aside and see what was underneath.

While not scary or gross, the children also tested the theory that it’s impossible to eat six saltine crackers in less than 60 seconds. It was a challenge the youngsters were certain they could beat, although none managed to swallow the final cracker before time ran out.

“I was getting ready to eat the last one,” said Shaliss Chestnut after she nearly beat the clock.

Considering the level of enjoyment, everyone was a winner, although those who managed to find the rats, bubble gum and other treats hidden in the plates were rewarded with bags of candy, school supplies and other treats.

The day’s challenge ended in a tie, with Emma Brown and Steven Arthur squaring off to find the final rats immersed in the spaghetti and mushroom plates. Brown cleared her plate one mouthful at a time, ultimately pulling the candy rat away from the surrounding food a few seconds before Arthur, who used his nose to root around in search of the gummy rodent.

Williamson said the youngsters from throughout the Ashland area spent the week watching movies, eating pizza and otherwise bringing attention to after-school programs with the help of a grant from the Elks National Foundation, as well as assistance from Americorps volunteers Donita Cox and Heather Simpson.

Those who participated in each day’s activities earned a Friday lunch trip to Texas Roadhouse.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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