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The fastest pizza-makers for Toppers Pizza united in the Dells at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions on June 5 for the 13th annual Skin Sprints, or the 2018 Toppers Pizza fastest pizza-maker contest.

Ten pizza-makers went up against defending champion Kelly Collins for the title of fastest pizza-maker and $4,000. The second-place winner took home $1,500. Meanwhile, the third-place champion won $500. Anyone breaking the Toppers Pizza fastest-pizza-making record of 1:35:00 — created by returning contestant Kasha Ksobiech in 2014 — would receive a $500 bonus. They did.

Two-time former Papa John’s fastest-pizza-maker champion Jake Ferdenzi walked away with both the top prize and a record-breaking time of 1:28:62.

“Toppers Pizza is committed to providing quality, fresh pizzas and to deliver them quickly,” said Scott Gittrich, President and CEO of Toppers Pizza.

During the competition, the pizza-makers are required to roll out six large pizza skins, or dough balls, and coat them with pizza sauce. Pizza-maker referees donning traditional black-and-white jerseys stand nearby assuring a quality pizza is produced.

The top 10 pizza-makers advanced to the national Skin Sprints competition from five regional competitions, said Gittrich.

And sometimes, true underdog stories happen.

Ferdenzi had the lowest qualifying time after the regional competitions, said Colleen Glendinning, director of social media and public relations for Toppers Pizza.

At the national competition, the pizza-makers take the stage and prep their workspace while the room watches in silence. Music then blasts from overhead speakers, a cue that it’s time to compete. The pizza-makers quickly flatten the skins — dough flying everywhere — and spread the pizza sauce until six large pizzas are produced.

“The competition measures speed and quality,” said Glendinning. “Toppers Pizza wants to make sure it’s doing things right with quality.”

The pizza-making champion is invited back each year to defend his or her title. Next year will be the 14th year of Skin Sprints, or Toppers Pizza’s fastest-pizza-maker competitions.