On a warm Saturday after doing race-prep pieces in the morning, four members of the Small Boat Training Center decided to set out to achieve one goal: to defeat the famed Vermonster at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory in Stowe. We were nervous—although we brought our ringer ice cream eater, Mike Clougher, standing at 6’10”, we didn’t know if only four of us could possibly finish it. The barrier between us and victory was great: 20 scoops of ice cream with four bananas, hot fudge and caramel sauce, two cookies, a brownie, and our choice topping of rainbow sprinkles. We warmed up for the effort with a generous free sample of Milk and Cookies ice cream at the end of the factory tour—standing in line for the Vermonster five minutes later, we began to regret our decision to go for the warm up sample. Someone nervously suggested a Mini-Vermonster instead. But we were committed—we came with one goal, one dream, and we weren’t leaving until we’d conquered the true challenge.
When the bucket of ice cream arrived at our table, Kate, Mike and I all jumped right in. Only Lawrence had the foresight to pace himself. As we began to slow down and the ice cream began to melt and mix flavors (the peanut butter was a bad choice), Lawrence and Mike stepped up to the plate. Kate and I dropped out of the effort and resorted to cheering and documenting, while Mike and Lawrence continued into the depths of the bucket. Mike powered through the brownie chunks almost entirely by himself, while Lawrence took on most of the banana slices. With a heroic “this one’s for you guys!” to the on-looking crowd, Lawrence and Mike drank the last of the ice cream slop and slumped onto the table. We had done it! The crowd went wild! (Or so we thought in our sugar-hazed minds). Though we all suffered the rest of the day, we left with the satisfaction of defeating Vermont’s greatest culinary challenge: the Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster.