The Pennsylvania man, who placed second in last year’s Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship walked away with the first-place prize from the first leg of the seven-city qualifying tour today.
Bob Shoudt, a middle school teacher from Pennsylvania, ate 58 of the little Krystal burgers in eight minutes. Coming in second was Larry McNeal of Newnan, Ga., with 28 burgers; followed by Chattanooga restaurant manager Rick Petralia who ate 20 Krystals.
Only Mr. Shoudt, who goes by “Humble Bob” is guaranteed a place at the Sept. 28 world finals in Chattanooga. Mr. Petralia and Mr. McNeal may be offered wild card spots if no else beats their eating numbers at future trials. They have the chance to compete in two other trials to improve their records.
Mr. Shoudt ate 95 of the Krystals at last year’s contest. He was bested when Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set a world record by eating 103 of the burgers in the same amount of time.
Mr. Shoudt, though he crushed his competitors today, said he was disappointed with his showing.
“I didn’t eat for three solid days, and that was a crucial mistake,” Mr. Shoudt said. “I’m just way too light-headed right now. I totally messed myself up, but I will be ready for the finals.”
After this first Chattanooga competition, Krystal will head to Jacksonville, Fla., on Sept. 1, then to Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham and Memphis, lining up qualifiers for the final competition.
The competitive eaters are trying to win a $50,000 cash purse. Organizers say that’s the largest cash prize in competitive eating. The first-place winner will receive $20,000 in cash. The runner-up will take home a paycheck of $10,000, while third place will leave Chattanooga $5,000 richer.
On the line for the remaining finalists are the following payouts: 4th - $3,000; 5th - $2,500; 6th - $2,000; 7th - $1,850; 8th - $1,500; 9th - $1,400; 10th - $1,250; 11th - $1,000; 12th - $500.
For complete coverage, read tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.