Mascot race benefits Ag Against HungerSALINAS, Calif. – Caped green superhero Captain T&A tore up the track to win the produce mascot race at the California Rodeo Salinas as grower-shippers raised money for nonprofit Ag Against Hunger.

Pulling rank as the captain was Eric Surprenant, a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

He’s interning at Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle with a focus on export.

In its second year, Fight Hunger Night at the rodeo saw the field expand from eight to 11 companies. Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ Cindy Celery, Bengard Ranch's Bengi the Ram and B&P Packing’s Carrot King were new entries.

The July 20 fundraiser was inspired by the Milwaukee Brewers’ sausage races.

Shred from Taylor Farms and Ice Ice Bergy from Church Bros. LLC finished second and third, respectively, taking ribbons in the 100-meter sprint before a packed grandstand.

Missing out on podium finishes were Chiquita Banana; Tobo the Fox from The Nunes Co.; and Buster Broccoli from Pacific International Marketing.

The more bulky vegetable items, like Lucy Lettuce from Dole Fresh Vegetables and Arti Artichoke from Ocean Mist Farms, finished back of the pack.

Each grower-shipper or packer paid $1,000 to enter the race, money that will benefit Ag Against Hunger’s aid to foodbanks. Beyond that $11,000, more funds will be contributed from California Rodeo Salinas receipts.

Last year’s race, with eight mascots, ended up netting the nonprofit more than $13,000.