2020 Longest Ash Contest : VP De-throned

2020 has been a crazy year. Lots has changed and so many things are putting a damper on the holiday season. That's why the Circle City Cigar Club hosted it's 2nd Annual Longest Ash Contest. A contest of skill, talent, cigars, and a little bit of luck!

In 2019 we hosted our first contest at a small local bar that allows cigar smoking. We expected it to be fun and have a good time. We did not expect was to nearly shut down the bar, with everyone crowding around the table to see what was going on! We had so much fun we decided that this will have to be a yearly thing!

Then COVID hit us like a brick to the face. Our bar that we once met up regularly at, was closed. And then once it opened temporarily, we found out that it would no longer allow cigar smoking... So disappointing.

That's where we bring in The Smoke Pit, our new second home. Supporting small local businesses are so important. Even more so when they can supply us with great and unusual cigars! So one day I was hanging out there smoking a Blackbird CROW, and the General Manager Rob (from Final Third Cigar Reviews) plopped down to chitchat. It was casual conversation until I mentioned us preparing for our next Longest Ash Contest. He suggested to me that we have it hosted at The Smoke Pit! It was a great idea, that turned into the perfect venue. We discussed more details over the next few weeks and got everything set in place.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, November 22nd. I walked into the empty lounge. It was past closing time, and from this point on, it would only be open to our private event. As people started walking into the lounge the atmosphere because light and relaxed. Everyone was either happy to be there, happy to see old friends, or happy to meet other cigar smokers! It's amazing the type of people that come together around a common interest! Nurses, fire fighters, police officers, sheriffs deputies, arson investigators, gymnastic coaches, retirees, and much more. A little bit different walk of life from all over, here for one thing. A friendly cigar competition...

After everyone arrived, I explained the rules. I went over the guidelines, what to expect, and a few tips to win! Last year we were smoking a cheap Alec Bradley cigar. It was the kind that you buy and give to the friend that wants a cigar, but knows nothing of them and has zero interest to ever smoke again. This year we used the Aladino Cameroon Toro. This was a hell of a cigar, every single competitor talked about how smooth and flavorful it was.

The prize this year was much bigger than the previous. Instead of a small cache of cigars, this year it was huge! I calculated about $130 worth of cigars. They also got a super sharp looking Aladino ash tray, as well as a cigar from their company that hasn't even been released yet! Talk about a win... Second place took home about $50 worth of cigars. This was going to be a good year. It was kind of funny, as soon as I mentioned the prizes the atmosphere changed... Everyone got serious, the looks on their face displayed determination, and their body language showed competitiveness.

The battle begun. Only having 4 minutes to light their cigar using no more than 3 matches, they were serious. No one was playing games. One competitor had told me he would knock off his ash intentionally, and just smoke the rest of the cigar causally for the fun of it. He wasn't very concerned about the competition itself. However... he was in it to win it. Surprisingly enough he made it pretty far into the contest!

Fast forward and roughly into 40 minutes of the competition, about half were remaining. Those that had dropped out were due to the ash prematurely falling, or due to the ash not burning evenly. They wanted a clean score and not take a penalty if the ash fell before calling for a judge to score them.

Those that remained were focused. They were dead set in trying to give it everything they had. One club member had told me he has spent a ton of time training and preparing himself for this. That member... had his hard work pay off in the end. One of the competitors about scared everyone as her ash fell to the floor. She was concerned that it would land on her face so, as it fell she shrieked and kicked the coffee table in front of her. Tactic? Maybe? But I can tell you one thing, not a soul moved their cigars!!

At one point one of the club members even turned their chair because they wanted a better airflow around their cigar! Haha, then it ended up costing him an ash fall. Everyone that was out of the contest made sure that I stepped over to snap a photo of him doing his, "sweeping of shame," which he didn't seem to happy about... Lol.

Clock kept ticking.The VP last year won with an ash length of 88mm in 37 min and 20 sec. That is an impressive feat but this year everyone wanted to do better. Clock hit 45 minutes and nearly everyone was out! Most competitors were just chilling with what remained from their cigar. But the competition was far from over. As the clock rounded the 47 minute mark, the Vice President called for a judge. Worried that his cigar would ash onto his chest, he finished with an ash length of 94mm!

As time was ticking, one of our club members Tony was currently hanging in with the longest ash, and could sense that his cigar wouldn't last much longer. Tony called for a judge, I walked over and measured. His cigar came in at 97mm long. This meant that he was currently in first place and only one last person remained. A friend of a club member, Kishu. See he's a regular cigar smoker, and found the sweet spot in the competition. He took his sweet time smoking and never rushed it. His tactic seemed to be paying off because at this point he knew that all he had to do was beat Tony. He already had the longer smoke time so it was simply to make sure that his ash went further but didn't burn the band, otherwise he would get a penalty.

I looked at him and told him that he had beat Tony in time, so he only needed a longer ash. The burn line was getting close to the band but he was afraid that the other side had not burned far enough to count. He looked at me and told me, "I'm going until the 1 hour mark and then I'll call it." Those last few minutes seemed to drag on forever. But as the clock tipped over, Kishu called for a judge at 1 hour, 1 minute and 18 seconds. It seemed like the room got silent as I measured his ash length...

The final length?

97mm. A tie in length with Tony. This meant the the winner was who had the longer time smoked...

Kishu won the 2020 Longest Ash Contest!

Everyone was so excited to see such a close competition. With such a close call on who won, it only goes to show that in this contest you need, good skills, a good cigar, good technique, and a little bit of luck!

The Vice President didn't take first or second place, but I'm pretty sure everyone will be back next year to try and claim the title of Longest Ash Champion.

Also HUGE SHOUT OUT to Reird and Rob from The Smoke Pit for opening their lounge to us. This place has become our second home and is one of the best places to go to light one up! If you haven't checked them, stop by and mention you heard of them from Circle City Cigar Club. They will take exceptionally good care of you!

Curious about what everyone's times and ash lengths are? See below along with photos from the competition!

1. Kishu 1:01:18 97mm

2. Tony 48:08 97mm

3. VP 47:52 94mm

4. Sincere 42:30 94mm

5. Moody 51:11 93mm

6. Stump 46:52 93mm

7. Barnes 31:07 78mm

8. Bob 43:33 73mm

9. Beckner 36:49 72mm

10. Pate 52:50 70mm (took ash penalty)

11. Simona 43:28 69mm (took ash penalty)

12. Reid 26:35 58mm

13. Adam 29:01 50mm

14. Erin 12:58 36mm

15. Casey -- -- (no time/measurement)

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