It was the first time Lyn Mitchell has ever encouraged her 8-year-old son to eat with his fingers.
"Use your hands!" she called to her son Aiden, who was busy shoveling in spoonfuls from his 2-pound bowl of ice cream at Fresno State's first-ever Dog Bowl Ice Cream Eating Contest.
Aiden and his three friends were one of nearly a dozen groups that competed in Saturday's brain-freezing challenge at California State University, Fresno's yearly Farm Festival. The festival attracted nearly 1,500 people.
Those who braved the face-off ranged from youngsters like Aiden to retirees.
Daniel Ward, 22, and his Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity brothers had slurped down scoops of frozen dessert the night before to prepare for the chilly challenge.
"I hate to disappoint you, but we don't have beer-flavored ice cream," Charles Boyer, dean of Fresno State's Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and one of the contest judges, said to laughs from the four Greek-life students.
Incoming Fresno State President Joseph Castro joined in on the fun with his wife Mary, sons Isaac and Jess, and daughter Lauren.
Mary said the family did YouTube research on eating contests and Isaac fasted for three days. Two-year-old Jess, she said, was the family's "secret weapon."
But when it came time to chow down -- on 12 scoops of ice cream, whipped cream and a chocolate bone-shaped candy bar served up in a dog bowl -- the team dubbed "Garbage Guts" was ready to make ice cream-eating history.
Within five minutes, the group of four men had mopped up their bowl, melted puddles of rocky road and all. They shook each other's sticky hands before being awarded gift baskets stocked with ice cream coupons, trail mix and chocolate.
"Fresno State's ice cream is the best in town," said Bruce Henderson, 61, a member of the winning team. "I'm probably going to have ice cream later today, I have ice cream all the time."
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