OATMAN — This time, Tanya Wohlschlag got what she came for.
When she first entered the Oatman Sidewalk Egg Fry in 2018, Wohlschlag left without a medal.
But she did take a look around and built a better strategy for the competition, in which participants try to heat eggs on a Main Street sidewalk using nothing but the power of the sun and their own ingenuity.
Wohlschlag made what she described as “a little oven,” using hot rocks, foil, a piece of glass and an iron skillet.
“I learned from last year,” she said Thursday. “I took a little of everybody’s from last year — and my own ideas, of course.”
The judges declared her eggs the best cooked in the event.
The 12 participants used a variety of techniques in the hope of getting their eggs done within the allotted 15 minutes. Many used magnifying glasses, some used cast-iron skillets and some used some variations of foil-lined boxes.
Steve Simmons of Bullhead City was rewarded for his creativity with the best-device award. Simmons’ contraption started with a glass candy jar and some gasket material to keep the heat in. He used a bicycle inner tube to keep the lid firmly on the jar.
It seemed at first that Simmons might do well in the cooking.
“When I opened the jar to put the eggs in, I scalded my fingers,“ he said. “It’s hot enough that if we had bread, it would be rising now.”
Alas, the yolks of Simmons’ eggs broke, disqualifying him.
His grandson, Zachary Schultz, tried a more traditional method: a magnifying glass and a cast-iron skillet. The eggs stayed intact and bubbled, but did not cook.
“Net year we will put the small pan inside the glass,” Simmons said. “Maybe it will be a success.”
Schultz, however also did not walk away empty-handed. He was honored as the contestant who came the greatest distance to the Egg Fry — from Louisville, Kentucky (1,592 miles as the crow flies).
The spirit award went to 7-year-old Mia Pierson of Los Angeles, who like older sister, Brooklynn, wore a stars-and-stripes patterned dress and a headband bearing red, white and blue pinwheels.
The girls’ mother, Melissa Pierson, said she regularly attends the Egg Fry, though it was Mia’s first time. Pierson said it’s a fun family event and a way to bring a community together.
Tim Burns, of Las Vegas, said he had a family friend who has attended the Egg Fry for 20 years who finally talked him into going. His magnifying glass method didn’t get his eggs cooked, but he said he’ll definitely be back.
“I’ve already have plans in the works for next year,” Burns said of his 2020 device.
The event is a fundraiser for the Oatman Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Darin Lowry said many of the 150 or so spectators were expected to stay in the former mining town for a while before heading toward the Colorado River for nighttime fireworks.
The temperature during Thursday’s event was 108 degrees Fahrenheit, event organizer Fred Eck said. Some years, it’s been hotter, some years cooler, but that doesn’t change the participants’ job, he said.
“It’s still up to the device,” Eck said. “You’ve gotta have the device.”