The Vermonster Challenge is an annual charity event held by Ben & Jerry's. Here's the basic idea: get a team of four people together and raise at least $100. On game day, bring your spoons. The first team to finish an entire Vermonster wins.

The third annual Vermonster Challenge was held on May 19th, 2007. Procrastinating teams could still pick up entry forms at Celebrate Davis on May ?th. That year, they raised money for Camp Kesem. The top 20 fundraising teams got a spot in the challenge, therefore it behooved everyone to raise as much money as possible.

The first team of four to finish the sundae receive 208 free scoops, i.e. free ice cream for a year.

Last year the wining team ate the 20-scoop sundae in under 2.5 minutes. Death at Ben & Jerry's...

you can either eat 20 scoops of ice cream or 4.5 pounds of frozen yogurt.

Photos (not in Davis)

The Bucket it comes in!

Truly Massive Truly Painful.


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2006-03-26 00:11:51   Jeez, they ate the plastic tub, too? That would definitely be painful! —GrahamFreeman

2006-03-26 00:56:34   I think it is sad when there is a nice thing like this, then it turns out it is for charity instead of just being inherently good. —NickSchmalenberger

2006-03-26 01:00:38   Where's the inherent good in buying a huge tub of ice cream and making yourself sick trying to eat it? And why is it sad to take something fun and find a way to use it to benefit a charity? I don't understand your complaint. —GrahamFreeman

  • First it is inherently good because it tastes good, and second because it is a pinnacle of human accomplishment(maybe not a high pinnacle, but still). I have several problems with stunts like this and others like marathons and bike rides as charity fundraisers. I have a lot of respect for what it takes to do the feat, and also a lot of respect for people who work for charity. In fact, I have done some of both, having run the 10k in the Davis Stampede (for fun, not charity) and having worked for charity volunteering at the Food Bank of Yolo County and in Boy Scouts. However, in both cases I am directly involved, but with the stunt fundraisers, it is more about money, not charity or accomplishment. The charity and the person making the accomplishment sometimes, like in the case described in this page, never see each other because the money is in between. In many other situations I find the abstraction of value by money to be very important and useful, but I think it is harmful here. It is not quite as bad as the problem with people simply donating money to an arbitrary charity, because the accomplishment is a worthwhile contribution to humanity in itself, but it is a similar problem. People can feel that they have done a good deed without having been directly involved or learning anything about what charity means. At the same time, I think that the charity aspect cheapens the accomplishment. Personally, I would respect somebody for running or eating ice cream just because they like to more than somebody who has an exterior purpose, unless it is an emergency. -NickSchmalenberger
    • Something is not inherently good because it tastes (or feels) good. There are a lot of things that feel good to people, that are by no means good (much less inherently good). Also, these charity events aren't about the people who are participating in them. It's about the demographic with the need. For instance, it doesn't really matter if someone riding in the Aids Lifecycle really understand what it's like living with AIDS. And so what if someone wearing a livestrong bracelet feels like he's single-handedly defeated testicular cancer? What really matters, is that these causes are being furthered. Try having AIDS or having testicular cancer (or whatever the vermonter benefits), and then criticizing these "stunt" fundraisers. —KaiTing
      • Are these causes really being furthered? Or is the money just paying for some other, more luxurious "fundraiser", in a tropical resort maybe? This is the danger of abstraction of value by money when applied to a purpose of no immediate or tangible benefit to the donor, which is why I never donate money to charity or give money to panhandlers. As for inherent goodness, how will you recognize it if it doesn't feel good? Every person must die of something eventually, and it might as well be cancer as anything else. I think it is more important to have fun while alive, eating ice cream, running marathons, and whatever else people enjoy for no other reason besides pleasure than worrying about death which must come to everybody eventually anyway. Better to accept it and move past. -NickSchmalenberger
        • Again, I presume that you're healthy. Your perspective would probably change if you were at risk. It's easy to be a hedonist when you're not the one dying or starving or whatever. These benefits exist to help other people enjoy life. Because some people recognize that there's more to life than their own personal pursuit of pleasure. As for inherent goodness, you must have other tests besides whether it feels good. Otherwise, you'll end up a rapist or something. To your other point, I'm sure some of the benefits out there are scams that ... um ... send people to tropical resorts. That's why you have to be judicious about which benefits you support. But somehow, I think that you're one of those people who likes being controversial, so that's all I have to say about this, as your position is not a tenable one. —KaiTing

2006-03-26 12:43:12   Nick, I think you need to get out more. —GrahamFreeman

2006-03-26 20:53:52   Wow! What is the problem with having fun with some friends by eating a bunch of ice cream really quick and raising money for a charity as well. I mean, no one should eat a Vermonster every day but it is all in good food every now and then. I think the Vermonster Challenge is completely "inherently good." All the money goes the Camp Kasem. The owner of the store donates all the ice cream cream and ever penny that the teams hand over goes to the camp. Sounds awesome to me. And you can win a bunch of free ice cream as well. Geeze Nick, leave the curmudgeonry to Bob Dunning. —RobRoy

2006-03-26 21:56:59   I think publicity stunts and charity are good separately, but I don't like publicity stunt fundraisers. Graham, you might know who Bob and Dorothy Laben were. I volunteered with them and then Dr. Jim Kennedy for two years carrying boxes when we would go to grocery stores to pick up food to take to the food bank. I think the importance of what they did was that it helped build community in a way that donating money never could. As I said before, I don't have a problem with use of money in some situations. For example, when you buy a car, the value of the labor in the assembly has been abstracted from the purchaser by the money they pay for it. This allows for people to have specialization of skills and makes for a more efficient society. However, I think it is sad to deal with charity in such an abstract way. Others are free to disagree. At the same time, when someone makes an interesting accomplishment, I would like to appreciate the thing itself without complications, like a charity fundraiser. Does an artist make art just to sell off and give the money to charity, or is art good in itself? —NickSchmalenberger

2006-03-26 23:18:55   Another example of the sort of charity that I think is good are when motorcycle clubs have a toy run, it is just fundraisers I don't like. Check out this toy run to Cache Creek. —NickSchmalenberger

2006-03-26 23:56:55   Because it was spelled wrong before, I only just figured out that there is a local branch of this charity. So is the fundraiser specific to the Davis store? I had the impression before that it was a national thing, which I think would be somewhat different because there would be less community development. —NickSchmalenberger

2006-03-27 02:39:00   Nick, I'm sorry about the confusing typo. This event is unique to the Davis store. —RobRoy