Acid Flashback Friday: the El Ranchero Chili Race

They might not have be as illustrious as the famed Milwaukee Sausage Race, but three little chili peppers managed to race their way the hearts of thousands of fans in Toronto.

For this week’s edition of Acid Flashback Friday, we take a look back at the El Ranchero Chili Race.

It’s been a few years now since Paco, Pedro and Tico raced down the third base line at the Rogers Centre, and from what I can remember it was one of the more popular in-game entertainment segments at the ballpark.


At least there were real people (albeit inside costumes) racing, instead of what the Blue Jays currently have – the Bruce Power Electricity Race, the Turtle Island Recycling Hidden Ball, and the baseballs racing around the word.

In my opinion, there’s nothing more disjointed than having the crowd cheer for a cartoon baseball on the Jumbotron.

That’s what made the El Ranchero Chili Race so great – as ridiculous as it sounds, it gave the fans something real to cheer for in between innings as opposed to staring up at the scoreboard and waiting for the predetermined outcome.

So here’s to the yellow, green and red chili from the El Ranchero Chili Race. Paco, Pedro, and Tico … you will always live on in our hearts.

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.



  1. David L.

    May 21, 2010 - 12:46 pm

    My favorite El Ranchero moment came a few years back while my wife and I where visiting T.O. for a weekend. We were staying in a hotel downtown and had tickets for a Sunday afternoon game.

    So that Sunday morning we were having a fun time with some morning sex. Well, in the middle of our love making my wife looks into the distance and asks "I wonder if the red chili pepper will win today?"

    I was like "hello!! We’re having sex here, you're supposed to be thinking about me, not Ranchero peppers!"

    …I guess I'll have to get a pepper suit.

  2. Anonymous

    May 21, 2010 - 12:52 pm

    I've never seen this before, and they need to bring it back as soon as possible.
    The CG animated "races" are abhorrent.

  3. Ian H.

    May 21, 2010 - 2:35 pm

    David, thanks for the hilarious and highly personal anecdote! That has to be one of the strangest things I've ever heard, but thanks for sharing. Good idea about the pepper suit.

    Anon, I doubt it will ever come back but it would be nice to see something similar return as in-game entertainment.

  4. andy mc

    May 21, 2010 - 3:50 pm

    long may they run.

  5. Jeremy

    May 21, 2010 - 4:00 pm

    To be honest, I hated that bit. But it was way more entertaining than what they have now. I actually did quite enjoy how each and every race there was one jerk-off pepper who didn't try to win but only cared about knocking the other two down. Classic.

  6. Ian H.

    May 21, 2010 - 4:47 pm

    Andy, I bet they went running for the border!

    Jeremy, I'll admit – I hated the Chili Race when it was around. But now looking back, I kind of miss having those goofy chili's around.

    And yes, I think there were also a couple of times where one of the chili's threw the race on purpose.

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