The Longest Handy Ever didn’t last very long.
On Saturday, five contestants gathered around a 5-and-a-half foot long inflatable penis — adorned with a Sharpie smiley face — to compete in the “Longest Handy Ever Contest,” sponsored by X-Mart at 3510 SW 13th St.
The last contestant with his or her hand firmly affixed to the air-filled phallus won a goody bag of more than $250 worth of sex toys, lingerie and sexual supplements.
At about 1:10 p.m., five contestants circled the penis, set up on a white display shelf festooned with red ribbons and blue-and-white streamers. Contest organizer and store manager Sam Collins, 33, warns contestants that they may not leave for any reason, and the last hand on the penis wins the prize.
The contest begins.
Eight minutes later, the first contestant leaves to walk her dog.
Collins, who has been working at X-Mart for three years and for the company for eight years, asks the remaining group various questions, ranging from what video games they’re currently playing to their favorite sex position.
As the contestants chat and lean on the slowly deflating shaft, Collins helps customers — mostly couples — who wander through the store. He calls himself a relationship rehabilitation specialist.
“I help people,” he says. “We change the world, one orgasm at a time.”
Two contestants, Kyle Savery, 19, and Pedro Gonzales, 19, drove from Jacksonville for this competition.
Savery, who studies education at Florida State College at Jacksonville smokes, but he assures the small crowd that he “isn’t a chain smoker,” so he won’t be distracted.
Gonzales, who studies network security at FSCJ, watches “Saving Private Ryan” on his phone.
Katrina “Kat” Gottschalch, 25, lets her competitors know she’s here for the long run.
“I have nothing better to do today,” she says. “I’ll sit here until 8. I don’t care.”
Gottschalch studies nursing at Santa Fe College by day and works at Winn-Dixie by night.
Her roommate, Holden Howard, 23, also has his hand on the now considerably limp penis. He, like all the others, heard about this competition from an employee, and not the Facebook event to which 30 people RSVP’d. He works retail and moonlights as a DJ two nights a week.
At 2 p.m. Howard lets go and wanders away.
Gonzales and Savery realize they have not eaten all day and begin planning a trip to Satchel’s Pizza.
Gottschalch seizes the opportunity and proposes a solution: She wins the competition and shares the goodies.
With visions of pepperoni and cheese in their heads, the remaining competitors agree and drop out — a mere hour after the competition began.
Cheering, Gottschalch takes the opportunity to swing the inflated penis around and pose with it before examining her prize.
She unzips a large black duffel bag to reveal pornography, nipple clamps and a vibrating dildo mounted on a black bouncy ball. She pulls each item out and squeals with excitement.
“I feel like Santa with a sack full of presents,” she laughs.
Gottschalch shares the booty among the four competitors, who all seem to be satisfied with their loot.
“I feel, although it is a loss, that we all benefited,” Gonzales says.
“I was ready for pizza,” he says.
[A version of this story ran on page 11 on 7/22/2014 under the headline "Longest Handy Ever Contest finishes earlier than expected"]
Alex Harris is the online editor of the Alligator and a 22-year-old journalism and sustainability studies senior. She likes cooking, spending time in the sun and making convincing cat noises.