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'It's been crazy': Omaha jello-shot challenge becomes phenomenon, raises tens of thousands of dollars

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 22:33:51-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Rocco’s Pizza and Cantina is typically a quiet North Downtown establishment. It explodes during the College World Series. But due to a friendly competition, it’s become a destination for College World Series Fans.

It’s due to the ‘Jello Shot Challenge’ which started in 2019 with modest success and then last year it did even better thanks to Mississippi State fans.

This year, “it’s been crazy,” said Kevin Culjat, Owner of Rocco’s.

Culjat noticed pretty early on in the 2022 College World Series that this year was different.

“When they started buying them 200 to 300 at a time,” said Culjat.

He’s not kidding and it’s even more than what he is saying as Razorback backers have receipts showing 500 and even 1,000 jello shots purchased in one credit card swipe.

For a restaurant and bar that makes around half of its annual income during the CWS and struggled mightily during the pandemic, this has been huge.

“Coming off of COVID when you weren’t sure you were going to be around at all, it’s been wonderful so if you look at it from one end it’s been fantastic. It’s 100 percent of what I had to have to stay alive,” said Culjat.

But the money isn’t just going into the owner’s pockets, as they announced Tuesday. They’re giving $2 for every shot sold from the Arkansas and Ole Miss fans to food banks near their campuses.

“To the people that were a little bit like me a couple of years ago when COVID hit you know there are still people out there struggling. We thought, me and my wife got together and thought giving to those food banks and those people at those two universities who might not have it quite as easy was just kind of the way to go,” said Culjat.

The two teams battled Wednesday night and could play Thursday if Arkansas wins. So the numbers, which totaled over 16,000 shots total, and 13,000 by the two fanbases alone will be going nothing but up.

“It’s been a great series for everyone involved. To my staff, to my customers, to the jello shot company,” said Culjat.