As the contestants of the Apricot Fiesta Pie Eating contest were introduced to a crowd of fiesta goers seated comfortably in the shade at the Center Stage, an anxious Alek “The Black Hole” Read waited patiently and quietly amongst a crowd of hopeful, chattering contestants. With his head down, it seemed like Alek was almost dreading to hear his name.

“I’m in it to win it!” said a smiling contestant, PHS student Aiden Ornelas, after hearing his name announced through the loud speaker.

Chants of “Black Hole” could be heard from the crowd before finally erupting into roars, claps, cheers, and whistles as “Alek ‘The Black Hole’ Read,” was announced over the loudspeaker. Alek picked his head up momentarily, and lazily lifted his hand to wave to the crowd. He was wearing a shy half-smirk and squinty eyes as the sun shone bright against his face.

The countdown began, and while other contestants could be seen smiling in anticipation, Alek ‘The Black Hole’ Read rested his nose against the top layer of the freshly baked Sunblest Orchards’ Apricot Pie. It was almost as if Alek was meditating.

What occurred after the countdown was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The Miss Patterson Court contestants did not stand a chance, and the children were simply enjoying a moment. High Schooler Aidan Ornelas also competed. With pie plastered all over his face, he finished in third place.

In second place was the only competition that Alek really had, runner-up Jose Virgen, who, in the last seconds caught up to Alek, who had just began to slow down before crossing the finish line. Good job, Jose. For a moment, Alek had forgotten it was a competition, and you reminded him.

“If he would have gone for the edges a little bit sooner, I think he would have beaten me,” said Alek. “I’m gonna be glad if they beat me next year. If they beat me next year, that’s my last year. If they don’t beat me next year, It’s my last year, cause that’s a decade.”

You heard it here first, folks. Alek ‘The Black Hole’ Read will hang it up after next year, but for this year, let’s celebrate another victory for Alek, his 9th consecutive Apricot Fiesta Pie Eating Contest title. He is a local legend, who deserves to have his apron hung up on the Center Stage rafters like a retired sports jersey. Congratulations, Alek ‘The Black Hole’ Read.

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