Tom Gilbert (left) and Joe Menchetti compete in a pie eating contest on the Chris Tabb Show, on Wednesday night, May 28, 2008. Menchetti, who holds the world record, lost to Gilbert, though Gilbert did not beat the record.
More related photos
By Travis Andersen
GateHouse News Service
Posted May 30, 2008 @ 05:05 PM
It was down to national pie-eating champion “Gentleman” Joe Menchetti versus Tom “Goose” Gilbert.
The two appeared Wednesday on “The Chris Tabb Show,” a program that was recorded at the Comcast studios in Cambridge and airs nightly in towns throughout the Bay State.
Menchetti, a 38-year-old ticket broker from Wallingford, Conn., went into the contest ranked No. 1 in the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, a national group with 50 ranked “food warriors” waging battle in the U.S. and abroad.
Gilbert, a 27-year-old mental health worker from Amherst, had been stuck at number two—until Wednesday.
With cameras rolling and host Chris Tabb looking on, the two men sat at a table with 14 pumpkin pies laid out from Petsi Pies, which has locations in Cambridge and Somerville. They gazed stoically at the fare while awaiting instructions from Arnie “Chowhound” Chapman, association chairman.
“We’re playing under picnic rules,” Chapman said. “You will not mush, mutilate or mash the New England icon known as pumpkin pie.”
Under picnic rules, food warriors must eat their grub in the same manner as people from the home culture—in this case with a utensil. Both men chose spoons and ate a combined 9.16 pounds of pie over the next five minutes.
Gilbert came away with a bigger slice, inhaling 4.66 pounds to Menchetti’s 4.5. When asked how he felt after claiming the association’s top ranking, Gilbert shrugged and said, “I’m not hungry anymore.”
Menchetti still holds the world pumpkin-pie eating record, at 5.89 pounds over a 5-minute period. The two will square off in a rematch July 18 in Chicago.
While they’ll be eating meatballs in the Windy City, association food warriors swallow an impressive—if not digestive—range of delicacies in their competitive eating careers. Menchetti packed away 89 cicadas in 60 seconds during a contest in Washington, D.C. in 2005.
“I could have done more, but they were low on the bugs,” Menchetti said. He took first prize at the bug buffet, gobbling more insects than the second and third-place finishers combined.
Tabb, a Boston-based comedian, said he contacted Chapman about filming a contest on his show after watching competitive eaters on television.
“It was crazy,” Tabb said. “Because I called him and asked if he had anyone local who could come in and film, and he said, ‘Only our No. 1 and No. 2 in the country.’”
Published: Friday, May 30, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. Last Modified: Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 12:41 p.m.
James Howell of Bayou Blue tackles a plate of hot dogs May 23 at Big Eddie’s Cafe in Bayou Blue. Howell is the only local person competing at a hot dog-eating contest June 7 at Sam’s Club in Metairie. If Howell chomps his way to a win June 7, he earns a seat at the table for Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The activity at Big Eddie’s Café in Bayou Blue eases to a standstill as one of the men seated at the counter picks up a pair of bare hot dogs and jabs them purposefully between his jaws.
The hot dogs disappear into James Howell’s mouth at a brisk pace, his teeth gnawing them like a tree chipper. The hot dogs gone, Howell turns to a bun, which he dips into a glass of water to smooth its ride down his esophagus.
Howell is not just enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. He’s preparing for serious competition.
The 40-year-old Bayou Blue resident is honing his hot dog-devouring skills in an effort to eat his way into the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The televised competition, held annually at Nathan’s Famous Hotdog stand on Coney Island, N.Y., is sanctioned by Major League Eating and draws competitive-eating stars from across the planet, such as Takeru Kobayashi.
Howell is one of 15 competitors slated to battle for a spot on Coney Island during a regional qualifier set for June 7 at Sam’s Club in Metairie. The winner of the Metairie competition will join other regional winners at the Fourth of July contest in New York. The Metairie competition requires contestants to eat as many hot dogs as possible within 10 minutes.
"I just wanted to enter just to say I did it. It’s starting to turn into you better do it or else," Howell said, describing how friendly pressure has started to build from the staff and other regulars at Big Eddie’s Café. Howell, who visits the café near-nightly, entered the hot dog-eating contest on a lark, but has gained a base of enthusiastic fans at the small diner at La. 182 and La. 316.
"We’re all pushing for him," said David Nehlig of Bayou Blue, another regular at the eatery.
Big Eddie’s serves as an informal training site for Howell, with café workers and regulars egging him on as he polishes off plates of franks. Cooks serve Howell extra hot dogs to help him practice, and café owner Eddie Herron recently offered to sell Howell hot dogs at discounted prices, Howells said.
Howell plans to sport a Big Eddie’s Café T-shirt and ball cap, donated by Herron, while gobbling hot dogs in the contest.
The upcoming event in Metairie marks the first time a regional qualifier for the Nathan’s contest will be set in the New Orleans area, said Kristy Reed, spokeswoman for Sam’s Club. It’s also the first year for the discount chain to host regional qualifiers in its stores. When picking sites, the chain chose five cities that have never before held a regional contest, Reed said.
The Metairie competition pits Howell against eight other Louisiana residents as well as sport eaters from Alabama, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee and New York, Reed said. The contest includes first-time sport eaters like Howell as well as experienced competitive eaters like Juris "Dr. Bigtime" Shibayama of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Howell bowls in a league and watches sports of any kind on ESPN, including the annual Nathan’s Famous hot dog-eating contest. But the 6-foot, 2-inch, 245-pound truck driver said he didn’t intend to be a hardcore competitor when he signed up for the New Orleans-area contest.
Vallejo native parlays eating exploits to more notoriety
By RICH FREEDMAN/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 05/30/2008 06:57:41 AM PDT
If ever there were a time Joey Chestnut would be considered "The Babe Ruth of competitive eating," it's now.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Vallejoan with the voracious appetite not only has one, but two trading cards flashing his smiling mug.
What was once limited to baseball players, Topps cards has unleashed a "legends" series that includes "Jaws," a 24-year-old San Jose State University student and the International Federation of Competitive Eating's No. 1-rated chow hound.
"It's so awesome," Chestnut said earlier this week from his South Bay engineering job. "I just go with the flow."
"The flow" that includes numerous eating records can add trading cards into the blender. Just another achievement for the humble kid from V-Town.
"Topps called me back in January and wanted to know if I'd be willing to be on a card," Chestnut said.
After accepting the fee, he signed and returned 400 cards.
"I don't know how many they're making. I think it's in limited production," Chestnut said.
Because his uncle owned a memorabilia shop when Chestnut was a kid, "I've always had plenty of trading cards," he said.
Of course, Chestnut noted, "I never thought I would be on one. It's so different."
Chestnut didn't know the precise reason behind the marketing of his mug, but believed it was because he "brought back the title to America" after beating Japan's Takeru Kobayashi in the Nathan's hot dog eating contest last July.
Arizona Events: Nathan's Famous Hot God Eating Circuit Visits Tempe Category: Arizona Events Winner to Represent Arizona at Coney Island on July Fourth America's top competitive eaters will battle at the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe on Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 1:00PM. On the line is the title of Arizona Hot Dog-Eating Champion and the chance to compete in the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY on July 4, 2008. The Tempe qualifier, having witnessed Joey Chestnut’s record-breaking performance last year, is always drama-filled. The line-up this year features last year’s runner-up, Tim “Gravy” Brown of Chicago, the potato wedge eating champion of North America. Challenging him will be 29th-ranked “Double-O” Kevin Ross, a newcomer who has eaten nothing but hot dogs for lunch for the last two months in preparation. Also competing will be the oddly coiffed, “El Toro” Jiminez, the Las Vegas resident whose hair is fashioned into horns. Nipping at their heels will be Russ “The Mad Stork” Witzke and Jesus Cabrales of Peoria, AZ. The line-up this year features two ambitious up-and-comers with a rivalry so bitter that they only talk at contests. The favorite is 12th-ranked Erik “The Red” Denmark of Seattle, the hard-boiled egg eating champ with 61 in 8 minutes, who will do battle with 13th-ranked Tim “Gravy” Brown of Chicago, the potato wedge eating champion of North America. Also competing will be El Toro Jimenez, a horn-haired gurgitator from Las Vegas, as well as rookies David “Conan” Cohn of Pheonix and Wallace “Bye Bye” Beisel of Mesa. “Our hot dog eating contest has always been the high point of the Coney Island calendar, but never has the excitement been bigger than 2008,” said Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathan’s Famous, Inc. “Fans worldwide consider the Nathan’s July Fourth contest to stand among the greatest sporting events in history, and we are thrilled to sponsor events throughout the country as we approach what will surely be a dramatic Independence Day.” Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating, the group that governs the Nathan’s Famous contest circuit, said: “I believe an unknown eating champion is walking the streets of Hartford, a champion who possesses the pride of Connecticut and the stomach capacity required to set a new world hot dog eating record.” In 2007, 45,000 fans crowded the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to witness Joey Chestnut’s victory over Takeru Kobayashi. An additional 1.5 million households tuned in to the contest’s live telecast on ESPN. Chestnut ate a world record 66 Nathan’s HDBs in the 12-minute contest. Kobayashi, who struggled with a jaw injury, placed second with 62. Kobayashi has spent the last several months recuperating to prepare for the rematch. It’s become a tradition for Nathan’s Famous to donate 10,000 hot dogs to hunger relief organizations on July Fourth, and the company plans to expand on its tradition of charity at this summer’s event. MLE Gives, an initiative that assists hunger-related charities, has raised over $35,000 since Thanksgiving. The Nathan’s Famous 2008 qualifying circuit will visit more than a dozen cities, including Philadelphia, PA, Las Vegas, NV, Minneapolis, MN, Atlanta, GA and San Francisco, CA. Qualifiers are open to those 18 years of age and older and registration is handled online. Interested parties can visit www.nathansfamous.com. The winner of each qualifier receives the right to compete in the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which, according to archives, has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916. Event Information:WHAT: Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier WHERE: Food Court at Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle Tempe, AZ 85282WHEN: Saturday, May 31, 2008 TIME: 1:00 p.m
GREENSBURG, Pa. -- Some of the region's best competitive eaters gathered in Greensburg, Westmoreland County Saturday to determine the Iron City hot dog eating champion.They came with nicknames like Steak-bellie and Wing Kong.But the winner of todays munch was Juliet Lee, 42, a mother of two from Maryland.
She is also ranked as the 10th best competitive eater in the world.The one-hundred-five pound woman downed 29 dogs in ten minutes.
Competitive Eater Crazy Legs Conti Experiences ‘Deja Chew’
Crazy Legs Conti practices eating at Robert's Steakhouse.Photo: Melissa Hom
Crazy Legs Conti, the world’s eleventh-ranked competitive eater and bon vivant about town, describes his diet as “benign gluttony — everything in moderation, including excess.” He has tried the master cleanse — but only to prepare his lower intestines for one of fifty or so eating competitions each year. During his eight years as a gurgitator, his weight has remained more or less the same, until last summer. “I found myself jogging only to donut shops,” he says. Now, though, he’s training for the New York City marathon and, of course, for the Nathan’s hot-dog-eating contest, where he aims to popularize “reverse bunning.” Before you decided whether to order your next ballpark frank with an inside-out bun, you might want to read what Conti ate this week.
Friday, May 16 As the purchasing director of Robert's Steakhouse and the Penthouse Executive Club, I’m there when it’s closed during the day. I’m a modern day Tantalus — so close, but yet so far. However, I get free milk and shot glasses are always in reach. At 10 a.m. to get a sense of calm in my stomach, I channeled serotonin and tryptophan in one shot glass of whole milk.
My roommate Tim “Eater X” Janus, ranked fourth in the world, makes the rounds of five different grocery stores each day. He discovered that for two weeks only, the grossly overpriced assembly line sushi bar at Whole Foods was offering a fifteen buck all-you-can-eat special. I rushed down for my lunch hour, but the belt was rigged slow. All I could get down was (number of pieces in parenthesis):
Spring Roll with peanut sauce (2) Salmon Canape (2) Ikura Canape (2) Brooklyn Roll (cream cheese – shouldn't it be called a Philly roll?) (3) Eel Roll (3) Spicy Tuna Canape (2) Salmon Sushi (2) Spicy Tuna Roll (3) Shrimp California Roll (3) Seared Salmon Temari (2) Ikura Temari (2) Shrimp Mejata (2) Salmon Avacado Roll (3) Eel Roll (3) Ikura Temari(3) Spicy Tuna Roll (2) Ikura Canape (2) Ikura Temari (2)
Around 5 p.m. at White Horse Tavern I had three Anchor Steams, one Irish Coffee, and a handful of onion rings. I had already done the Dylan Thomas special with sushi instead of whiskey so this was a light stop.
Since I don't have cable I had to head to an enemy-territory sports bar to watch my Boston Celtics. At the Riviera, the bar food seemed to have gone the way of the Knicks — soulless chicken wings, crappy nachos, bland penne ala vodka. And four Sam Adams. The Celts lost — not even the apple cobbler and cheesecake could cheer me up.
Saturday, May 17 I shared 1/2 of a Superheeb from Russ & Daughters. It’s simply the greatest bagel of all time. It costs nine dollars — I can only afford one quarterly, but it’s worth it. I also had half of a whitefish salad, half of a smoked salmon, and horseradish cream cheese with wasabi flying fish roe. It was like all the goodness of the ocean smacking against a tasty shoreline of bread.
At 11 a.m. I had two bowls of Honey Toasted Oats with real strawberries — real, as in freeze dried and tiny.
Each year at the start of hot-dog season, I go to the source — the original Nathan’s. I have one dog plain. I am anti-condiment. I eat the dog and stare at the Wall of Champions with the countdown clock ticking until high noon, July 4th. Since I don't have to dunk the buns (yet), I opt for 44-oz. Coors Light as my alternative beverage. Plus it's great for the walk to L&B Spumoni Garden. Sadly, the L (Ludovico Barbati) recently passed away but his memory clearly lives on in the tomato sauce. I shared one slice round, one slice square, one medium spumoni. Clearly the square is the way to go and the Spumoni is the highlight.
I’m always trying to check off my NYC pizza list so I planned two stops. At Di Fara I landed the choice spot at the counter where you can watch the master at work. Mr. DeMarco looks like the head elf in Santa's workshop. He is a one-man operation (vertically integrated perfection) and the pizza is an abstract painting of rare beauty. And the taste seals it. I ate four slices and took one home for bronzing.
Late night, I had air-popped popcorn with Old Bay Seasoning. I was still reeling from how good the Di Fara pizza was.
Sunday, May 18 I had some Community Blend Coffee from New Orleans made at home. Best coffee in the universe.
I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 2 p.m.: 14 slices of pizza in ten minutes. Eater X and I scheduled a rare technique-training session for the upcoming 3 Brother's Pizza World Championship. Home training is discouraged on the circuit for safety reasons, but I needed to figure out the fastest way to eat a slice then extrapolate. Eater X picked up a stack of $8, 18-inch pies from a place on St. Marks. Since no dunking is allowed, I decided to eat crust first, folding the pizza like an accordion. Bad technique. My folding led to no interplay between the sauce and cheese as a lubricant and my efforts seemed like I was eating four inches of cardboard. I dejectedly walked the leftover pies to Renewal, the shelter on the Bowery, where they were pleased as punch at my consumption shortcomings.
Dessert was 1/4 of a pistachio cupcake from Crumbs. I was dehydrated from the pizza so I drank seltzer, water, and any other liquid in the house.
Monday, May 19 Still full from the day before, I waited until 11 a.m. for coffee and a naval orange from the bar back station at work. I had a watermelon competition the next day, so I was trying to eat as little solid food as possible.
At 4 p.m. I opted for yogurt, apples, granola, and flaxseed.
My dinner companion and I headed to B&H. I was desperate to order the French toast, but knowing I would need mind over stomach matter the next day, I had simply a cup of split pea soup.
At 11 p.m. I stopped my stomach's rumbling with two bowls of Quisp Cereal.
Tuesday, May 20 I never knew I had a life goal of becoming a character in a video game until I showed up at the Nintendo Store in Rockefeller Center at noon. I think the WiiWare game might replace celery as the number one lose-weight-while-you-eat scenario. I was competing against Eater X in six minutes of actual watermelon eating followed by two minutes of virtual watermelon eating (as our avatars).
I stole a move from Eater X’s playbook and in the closing seconds took one bite out of a large slice. We both ate fifteen slices (roughly 8 pounds) but my buzzer-beating bite gave me the victory.
The video emulates actual pro eating. Much to my dismay, and the pleasure of every media outlet, I suffered an urge contrary to swallowing. Eater X, victorious.
Oddly enough, I felt hungry, as if the watermelon had simply expanded my belly and sent fructose through my blood stream. My neurotransmitters jumped the synapse and were all cheering for meat. I had watermelon flavor fatigue. At Robert's Steakhouse "family meal" is served each day for the staff. I had two pieces of lasagna and salad, but passed on the pork chops, creamed spinach, and French fries — call it portion control.
At 7 p.m. I headed to B&H for my reward meal and ordered the French toast I denied myself the night before. Breakfast for dinner isn't just Paulie Bleeker's favorite — I savored every bite of golden brown milk-and-egg-soaked goodness.
Later I headed to Professor Thom's, the Boston bar, for the Celtics Game. The Nachos are giant — fully loaded with jalapeños the size of Kevin Garnett. I was also drinking my favorite German Smoked Beer, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier— the Urbock varietal. It literally tastes like liquid bacon.
Wednesday, May 21 I started my day off with Irish steel cut oatmeal and coffee from the Pom Pom Diner. I also opted for a toasted hero with imperceptible butter — the toaster at Pom Pom is set to perfection.
I’ve taken up yoga to help center the stomach and learn rhythmic breathing. Hardcore yogis are probably appalled that I’m practicing “Pranayama” in order to eat more hot dogs. At the studio is a healthy buffet left over from an earlier catered event. I have chicken salad, greens, and red skin potatoes. Namaste and buffet — a perfect symbiotic relationship.
A few years back, I ate 91 cocktail wieners to raise money for a permanent home for Coney Island USA’s sideshow and museum. At this year’s fundraiser, I stuck to the vegetable passed hors d’oeuvres. I chatted with Julie Atlas Muz while munching on sautéed asparagus and I took one bite of a red caramel apple that I handed off to Gotham Girl Roller Derby Queen, Suzy Hotrod.
At midnight at the Cobble Hill Cinema I had a bucket of popcorn and a small soda.
Thursday, May 22 On short notice I was required for the Today Show. Kathie Lee played the game while Eater X and I ate…watermelon. Deja Chew. As a Major League Eater, one has to be ready to gorge at a moment's notice.
Live TV is always chaos, especially when morning talk show hosts enter the spray zone. [This is what happened]. Eater X and I wiped out the green room — he focused on sweets, while I pocketed the breakfast burritos, turkey wraps, and a kiwi.
Despite sneaking out of work to eat off-premise, I was rewarded with a victory meal at my place of employ. Chef Jayson Margulies knew I was hinting towards the Porterhouse for two (for myself) but steered me towards the New York Strip Bone In, along with lamb chops, asparagus, a shrimp cocktail, and onion rings. It looked as if half the cow was on the plate, and I was thankful for the sacrificial offering.
A Story Of a Farmer The Son And The Elderly Grandfather
As the saying goes what goes around comes around , I haven't been treated in competitive eating as well as I'd have wished I should have been , yes I had my share of publicity and the limelight , but I had more of my share of injustices in my time to zero out whatever bones were thrown my way. I want to let everyone know that thou I received the lifetime achievement award , I fell that my presence in competitve eating is being discounted and I leave the sport treated like a piece of crap.
So i would like to remind all the eaters how I get treated a major figure in the sport as I exit the ce table will have a direct effect on all of you...and now I'd like to tell you this tale of a farmer his young song and the elderly grandfather who worked a farm. one day the elderly grandfather became to ill to work and the father then tells his son , that on my farm if you don't work you don't eat and so put grandpa in the barn to starve to death . as the young son walks the elderly grandpa away the father shouts back , I want him to starve to death but not freeze to death so here's a blanket to wrap around him so that he may be warm ...a few minutes pass and the young son returns with half a blanket the Father says . whats this , the Young son says I 'm saving half for you someday , Well George will save half a blanket for the Joey Chestnuts when they cease to be as productive as in their prime ..end
Royersford's "Humble" Bob Shoudt should fare well at Saturday's qualifier for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. The Nathan's champ is also three-time Wing Bowl champion Joey Chestnut.
Amateur eaters are welcome at the contest, beginning at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, but advance online registration is required at nathansfamous.com. Shoudt's a professional eater ranked fifth-best in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating.
• There was a huge upset in the 4th Annual Gyro Eating Contest at the Festival of Greece at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church on Eldridge Parkway.Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti defeated world champion eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut by downing an even dozen of the massive, 12-ounce sandwiches in 10 minutes.
Chestnut was second with 11 gyros, followed by "Humble" Bob Shoudt (9.5 gyros) and "Nasty Nate" Biller (6 gyros).
Biller, a rookie on the eating circuit, hopes to enter more than 50 contests this year. He is a graduate student at New York University.
Bertoletti won $2,000 for his record-breaking effort in the event, which was sanctioned for the first time by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. Chestnut took home $1,000.
Gyros are Greek delicacies made with shaved beef and lamb, onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce, all stuffed in a fluffy pita bread. They're tough to eat fast.
• My favorite part of reading the Houston Chronicle online (chron.com) is the reader comments after each story or blog entry.
Stolen Ideas* Pictured Don ''Moses'' Lerman Back in 2001and 2002 I sent nearly every food pervision company , every dairy company butter producer and all hot sauce manufactures a 25 page portfolio about myself as a competitive eating champion and the new burgeoning sport.They were all sent returned receipt requested , so I know that they received them , and almost each and every one has stole my idea ' my interlectial property'' so to speak ,and that's a shame , give credit where its due , invite me to an event let me be a spokesman ,, but don't trample on my good will. I made theses portfolios when the sport was new and fresh on the scene , it seems that and I'am not being given any credit for my efforts and thats not right..end
Don Lerman Tossed Aside Like An Old Shoe By The I.F.O.C.E.Don Lerman who recently won the lifetime achievement award , is no lon3er needed its seems in any capasity by the I.F.O.C.E. Once a top star who came to Shea communications as the Bens matzah ball Champ and helped futher the then burgening sport. has seems to hit a dead end . Lerman who hoped to make being taped as a judge for the upcoming Laredo la Costena Jalapeno contest ( since he is a former champ). says he was never contacted in any way shape or form It seem that I'm not one of their favorites , says Lerman who recently turned down a job as judge for a hot dog contest at a AAA baseball team because they were not Nathans hot dogs and being on the wall of fame he says was sort of unwritten obligation a sort of a good will ambassador, I felt it wasn't right to judge a non nathans contest . Loyalty is not rewarded says Lerman all they care about is the top 5 eaters it seems , lerman went on to say''I gave them the best years of my life , my blood my sweet and tears,and in the , I'm tossed away Like an old shoe and thats not right"....end Don ""Moses'' Lerman as Matazh Ball Champ
By NICK RAHAIM • The Salinas Californian • May 19, 2008
CASTROVILLE - Steamed, fried or grilled, in muffins, soup or burritos, the "artichoke center of the world" celebrated its signature vegetable over the weekend.
The 49th Annual Artichoke Festival brought more than 30,000 people to Castroville, whose population is about 7,000. The Marshall Tucker Band rocked Saturday with its smooth, sour-mash Southern style, and WAR took to the stage Sunday with its funky Afro-Latin rhythms.
"We had an excellent weekend," said Jennifer Roybal, the festival's publicist. "We actually ran out of beer and artichokes."
With a car show displaying more than 100 classic cars and low-riding cruiser bicycles, Roybal said WAR's famous anthem, "Low Rider," couldn't have been more fitting.
"WAR was the big feather in our fedora," she said.
On Sunday morning at 9:45, spectators packed the sides of Merritt Street, Castroville's main drag, for the festival parade. At the parade, politicians -including Salinas City Councilman Tony Barrera on horseback -community groups and marching bands cruised the street waving to onlookers.
Later in the day, two former artichoke-eating champions and three challengers stuffed their faces to see who could eat the most artichokes in three minutes. Hugo Ruiz, who was born and raised in Castroville but now lives in Fresno, ate nearly a pound. Ruiz beat out Kim Hussey of Turlock, who won in 2006.
Over the course of the weekend there were four artichoke-eating contests.
"No one chews like me," Ruiz said. With a stomach freshly full, he said that the event did not make him sick of artichokes and pointed to more than a dozen he would soon take home with him.
"I just may need to wash them down with some beer," he said.
Crazy Legs Conti, left, Timothy Janus, right, courtesy IFOCE.
Attention competitive eating fanss – hey, stop snickering; it’s a legitimate sport regulated by an International Federation! As one fan site says, "For those of you who doubt it's a sport, try making your body consume 20 pounds of food in 10 minutes." Anyway, C.E. fans will definitely want to plan for an extra-long lunch break on Tuesday, May 20th, when two of the world’s biggest "gurgitory gladiators" will lock horns in a Battle Royale for watermelon eating dominance.
The face-off will pit Timothy Janus, AKA Eater X, against Crazy Legs Conti. Janus is the tiramisu-eating champion off the world and set the record for tamales by downing 71 in 12 minutes; Conti’s a regular at Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and wowed fans by eating his way out of a 96-cubic foot sarcophagus of popcorn at the debut of his own movie, Zen and The Art of Competitive Eating.
Besides cheering on their favorite eater, fans will also get to play around on Nintendo’s WiiWare channel, which just came out with Major League Eating: The Game. The video trailer for the game, which we posted last month, is distinguished by some virtual competitive vomiting.
Nintendo World Store, 10 Rockefeller Center, 5/20, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
As the clocks neared 10 minutes, two young men on Saturday chewed their way closer to a trip to Coney Island.
Chicagoan Tim "Gravy" Brown, who took 13th at last year's Fourth of July competition, and Minnesota resident Patrick Vandam were neck and neck, up to their elbows in hot dogs, keeping their eyes on the prize - a spot in the July 4, ESPN-televised Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York.
Vandam, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 160-pound rookie, was crowned the regional champ after devouring 31 hot dogs in the contest held in the Sam's Club parking lot in Matteson.
In a close second, Brown, at 6 feet and 200 pounds, downed 281/2 hot dogs.
Their styles were similar. Both men removed the hot dogs from their buns, gnawed away at them two at a time, then dunked the Wonder Bread buns in liquid.
"What's my strategy? Aside from eating as fast as I can, that's about it," said Vandam, who danced between plates. "I'm not a good dancer by nature."
The smallest of 12 contestants, Vandam guessed he gained about eight pounds by the end of the competition - full of beef, bread and water.
"I'm not in a hurry to go eat anything else," he said, before leaving with his trophy. "I've never been to Coney Island. But people say it's quite a trip."
Brown's arms were stained with the remnants of his choice drinks: orange and raspberry Crystal Light.
"I'm doing all right," he said. "I have a little lead in my gut right now, but it was a lot of fun. This is a great group of guys."
He listened to M.I.A. and Zoinks! on headphones to tune out the cheering crowd and chewing competitors.
"It's really about focusing," he said. "I need something. As long as it's loud and fast."
Brown, the local favorite, was expected to win. He ate 25 hot dogs in 12 minutes at last year's July Fourth event.
He's devoured 24 sliders in eight minutes and ate 3.76 pounds of turkey in eight minutes for the Spike TV Turkey Bowl in October.
"I do a lot of water training because it's easy," he said. "I'm pushing for 30. I have some stiff competition."
Vandam, who took second place a week earlier in Minnesota by eating 30 franks, was that stiff competition. But Brown hasn't given up yet.
Intent on representing Chicago in Coney Island, Brown will be competing May 31 in Arizona and will travel again to a Texas competition, if necessary.
George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating, which governs the Nathan's Famous contests, said the competition is traveling to Sam's Clubs nationwide as the store chain recently announced its decision to serve Nathan's Famous hot dogs at 570 locations.
He introduced the 12 male competitors who traveled to Matteson from Wisconsin and Minnesota as well as Springfield, Elmhurst, Darien and Chicago.
Shea counted down from 10 minutes, keeping close watch on Brown and Vandam before he and a team of judges announced a winner.
"You all can cheer for Patrick Vandam at the July Fourth competition," he said.
Last year, more than 1.5 million people tuned in to ESPN to watch Joey Chestnut annihilate 66 hot dogs in the 12 minutes, taking the mustard yellow belt from reigning six-time champion Takeru Kobayaski.
Don Lerman Disrespected by Nokia add ... In an attempt to claim someone other than Don Lerman Holds the worlds Butter eating Record Nokia has put an add on the market that is a slap in the face to great Moses Lerman it belittles his title and discounts the truth and if you check the glutton bowl tape it is actually 71/2 sticks in 5 min....end
On the May 1 edition of ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning, co-host Mike Golic participated in a competitive eating contest in which he scarfed down 15 chicken wings, while professional competitive eaters around him ate significantly more.
It was intended to be a lighthearted moment on the show. But some people took it seriously. Really, really seriously. Peter Finney Jr., a writer for the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, has this to say:
The hedonistic display was bad enough - Golic finished last to "professional" eaters Tim "Eater X" Janus, Pete "Pretty Boy" Davekos and "Crazy Legs" Conti - but the gluttony-as-sport, far from laughable, should sting any correctly formed conscience.
I guess my conscience isn't correctly formed, then, because I don't feel the least bit stung by watching competitive eating.
Why should I feel stung? Here's the explanation:
"I think it is a little obscene, especially right now given the fact that people are increasingly concerned about getting enough good food to eat," said Natalie Jayroe, director of Second Harvest Food Bank of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which since Hurricane Katrina has provided more than 151 million pounds of food to families and seniors.
"Encouraging people to engage in gluttony is not good for their lives."
Sorry, but that's absurd. There is a Peter Singer school of thought that says almost everything Americans spend money on is wasteful and would better be used treating the sick and feeding the starving, and I'm not unsympathetic to that school of thought. But to single Golic out as the one example of wasteful consumption is utterly ridiculous.
Ranked third by the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, Ian "The Invader" Hickman of Herndonhas his sights on strawberries for the Deaplane Strawberry Festival on May 24th. Some of his other records include 117 Herndon man seeks national strawberry-eating title RestonBy Gregg MacDonaldSource: Fairfax County TimesTUESDAY, MAY 13 2008 Despite competitive eater Ian “The Invader” Hickman's great successes, he says he still feels he has some unfinished business when it comes to strawberries. Having previously competed twice and finishing no better than third place at the annual National Strawberry Eating Championship in Delaplane, Hickman would love nothing more than to win this coveted title for his home state of Virginia and finally add strawberries to his long list of eating titles. "This event is in Virginia, it's my house," Hickman, 25, declares."The sweetness of these delicious strawberries can only be fully realized when a Virginian brings the title home where it belongs.” Last year's champion ate 9 pounds of strawberries in seven minutes. Hickman, a Herndon resident who stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs only 165 pounds, has established several world records and captured several national eating titles since he started competing in 2005 at the age of 22. His accomplishments include downing 10 pounds of chili in only five minutes, capturing the National ¼ lb. Hot Dog Eating Championship, and grabbing the World Black & White Cookie Eating Championship. In addition to his domestic victories, Hickman has competed in Tokyo against the mighty Japanese Food Fighters and held his own. Hickman said he first became interested in becoming a competitive eater after watching actor John Candy eat a huge steak in the movie "The Great Outdoors," and later consumed his own 64-ounce porterhouse in a Lexington, Ky., steakhouse that offered the meal free to anyone who could finish it in less than 45 minutes. Hickman ate the steak – along with a side and a salad – in only 19 minutes. "That's when I knew I might have talent as a competitive eater," he said. A billing consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Hickman says he generally attends one or two contests a month and particularly likes to win those within driving distance from his Herndon home. For details on how to watch Hickman try for the strawberry-eating title, visit www.delaplanestrawberryfestival.com. Proceeds from the festival are used to support ministries, with outreach grants to numerous local, regional and international nonprofit organizations, including Salvation Army of Fauquier, Fauquier County Social Services, Hospice of Fauquier and Rapidan, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and the Diocese of Sudan.
Two participants wear the namesake fruit as part of the Tart Toss at the California Strawberry Festival, held every May in Oxnard, CA.
By Elina Shatkin, Times Staff Writer May 15, 2008
The Soupy Sales pie-in-the-face routine has nothing on the California Strawberry Festival, where would-be pie-oneers can practice their own version of the classic slapstick maneuver. At the tart toss, stick your head through a cutout in a wooden board. If the tosser successfully hits the target (your face), you win. All you can lose is your dignity.
"As funny as it sounds, people say, 'I've always wanted to have a pie thrown in my face,' " festival manager Bonnie Weigel says. Just ask Sales. The comedian and children's TV show host who elevated the humble pie toss into an art form took from 19,000 to 25,000 pies right in the kisser.
If you prefer cramming at least as much dessert into your face as you smear onto it, the festival's shortcake-eating contest (strawberry, of course) offers a fleeting but messy opportunity for speed eaters and would-be gluttons. Nancy Rodriguez, one of the hosts of Ventura radio station Q104.7's Clubhouse morning show, counts herself among the latter. "I'm a little competitive," Rodriguez says, "but more than anything I thought, 'All the pie I can eat for a buck? You can't beat that.' "
At this messy battle, competitors -- some of whom have trained for years at backyard barbecues, family dinners and buffet extravaganzas -- have 60 seconds to inhale as much pie as they can without benefit of forks or hands. Nicholas Lopez, 18, has competed twice and in 2003, at the tender age of 14, won first place. With all the humility of a true champion (or a bored teenager), he doesn't take excessive pride in his accomplishment. "I wouldn't call it a talent at all," Lopez says of his ability to down copious amounts of food in record time. "It was just being hungry." And the recovery was brutal. "I don't think I ate for a long time afterward," he says, "maybe three or four hours."
Rodriguez, who didn't come close to winning in her first attempt, has a strategy this time.
"The first year I was a little afraid of sinking my face into the pie and getting extremely messy. One of the mistakes I made was focusing too much on the person next to me and seeing how quick they were going. This year I'm going to focus on swallowing the strawberries instead of chewing them one by one," she says.
Other highlights include a strawberry stomp, in which competitors have one minute to see how much berry juice they can mash out; performances by swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and rock drummer Sheila E; a build-your-own strawberry shortcake contest and a cornucopia of strawberry-based foods, including a strawberry pizza.
"The days of the old country fairs are gone," Weigel says. "I think this really recalls a time when things were simpler."
CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
WHERE: Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard.
WHEN: 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sat. and Sun. PRICE: $12, general; $8, seniors; $5, children ages 5 to 12 INFO: (888) 288-9242 www.strawberry-fest.org/
Andrea Larson would like to see plenty of fans sitting in Sections 232 and 233 at the Metrodome next Monday and Tuesday.
She also is hoping that Takeru Kobayashi isn’t one of them.
That’s because the Minnesota Twins are trying something new: “All-You-Can-Eat” Nights, at which patrons who buy tickets in the chosen sections can eat for free ... and eat ... and eat ... and eat ...
“I think it’s a great idea. It could be really fun,” said Larson, the Twins’ corporate communications manager. “I thought of college kids: If it’s all-you-can-eat, you can save a little money.
“I hope that people don’t just (gorge) because it’s free.”
Here’s the (ahem) skinny: The Twins will sell up to 1,000 tickets in the all-you-can-eat sections on Monday and Tuesday. It’s usually a $21 ticket; on those two nights, it’s $33.
And for the extra $12, you theoretically could eat until you explode — all the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and soda you can consume in 71/2 innings (the gluttony ends after the top of the eighth).
“It’s something that has been done in quite a few other ballparks (14 others in the major leagues), and it’s something that has been successful elsewhere,” Larson said. “There’s other parks that have all-you-can-eat pavilions.”
The only notable menu limitation is beer, which history has shown is probably a pretty good idea. We’re nearing the 34th anniversary of the Cleveland Indians’ famous Ten-Cent Beer Night (June 4, 1974), which ended up with drunken mayhem, fans spilling onto the field to brawl with players and a forfeited game.
You can’t get free ice cream, either. But pretty much everything else is fair game. And if you have a group of 25 or more (your Hippopotamus Club meeting could be held there), tickets are $29, which brings the gorging bill down to $8.
There are potential pitfalls, of course, not the least of which is that ushers might have to ...
“Carry ‘em all out?” Larson asked.
Yeah, or worse. What happens if they held a ballgame and a competitive eating contest broke out?
“Oh my gosh,” Larson said. “I hope that doesn’t happen.”
You don’t have to look like Chris Farley to do a lot of damage at the concession stand: Kobayashi, the Japanese competitive eating champion who for six years held the world hot dog eating record (his personal best: 63 in 12 minutes), is listed on his official Web site as 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds.
“Kobayashi? He’s tiny,” Larson said. “I don’t know how he does it. I don’t want to know, either.”
There’s also the danger of what competitors on the Major League Eating tour call a “reversal of fortune,” which is a nice way of saying that they toss their cookies (or hot dogs, or whatever).
There isn’t going to be any official consumption contest on Monday or Tuesday, although you can be sure that some of the all-you-can-eat patrons will keep score.
And there should be quite a few of them.
“(Response) has been good: They’ve sold I believe 300-400 tickets for each game so far,” Larson said. “They’re weeknight games, and school’s not out yet.”
Translation: With an unattractive opponent (Texas) and dates, those normally would be empty seats.
So, the Twins have already come out ahead — assuming that the carnage at the concession stand isn’t too horrendous.
“We’re certainly not excluding anybody,” said Larson, who insists that the Twins won’t be doing any screening out 500-pound patrons.
“It’s really kind of for anybody, but I think that it’s sort of a natural for college kids and families.
“I’ll definitely see how it’s going, and who’s coming to it.”
Larson won’t do much damage herself; she can’t eat that many hot dogs.
“Me? One. Two, maybe,” she said.
“I maybe could do more, but I wouldn’t feel so good after.”
Kobayashi usually doesn’t either, but that doesn’t stop him.
Hopefully, he won’t be there.
This is the opinion of Times sports editor Dave DeLand. Contact him at 255-8771 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olean may be tiny, but its residents have the gumption, sense of humor, and adventurous eating habits to pull off this annual fest. The main attraction is mountain oysters, a polite term for fried turkey testicles. Kudos to reader Judy McFarland of Columbia, Mo., who wrote in about the festival last year. We've also learned Olean doesn't have the lock on testicles—Montana has been celebrating them for more than 25 years. June 7, 2008; eldonchamber.com, $5. Story continues below ↓
UTICA — The 34th Annual Utica Old-fashioned Ice Cream Festivalwill be held May 24 through 26, on the grounds of Energy Cooperative and Velvet Ice Cream Co., one mile south of Utica and nine miles north of Newark, on Ohio 13. The Utica Sertoma, LaSertoma and two Serteen clubs and many others volunteer their time to put on this festival.
The weekend is for the entire family. Over 90 artisans from Ohio and other states exhibit their handcrafted items. Pony rides, antique gas engines, sheep herding by border collies and a car show on Sunday; motorcycle show on Monday; and a magic show allThere will be many contests including ice cream eating, balloon toss and egg toss, all three days; and kiddie tractor pulls on three days. Sunday. Entertainment will be provided all weekend, along with a general store, ice cream tent, ham and bean tent, bratwurst stand and other foods.
The highlight of Saturday will be the parade in the village of Utica at 11 a.m. Tour bus and handicapped parking is available. Shuttle service will be available from parking lot to the festival entrance. There is an admission charge per car.
Festival hours are: Saturday, May 24, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 25, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Monday, May 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In case you missed it, the big news from Friday was the transfer of two-week-old wolf puppies to the International Wolf Center. We documented this rare event -- pups generally remain in the den for months -- with a photo slideshow and two videos.
From later in the weekend: among feats of competitive eating, shoving 41 hot dogs down in 10 minutes has to rank up there. Daniel Corrigan has photos from the Nathan's Famous contest in Apple Valley this on Saturday. Yet when reading the Strib's story, all I could think was: "The name of the song is 'Baba O'Riley.'"
When submitting this story to the link-aggregation site Digg, I got one of those suggestions that makes this whole web editor grind worthwhile. When you ship Digg a link, it often hits you back with other sites that it thinks contain the same content. Check out the top item it identifies with a hot dog-eating contest (click for a larger, more legible version):
Chicagoan wins hot-dog eating contest in Apple Valley; next stop: Coney Island
Article Last Updated: 05/12/2008 09:34:39 AM CDT
Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti of Chicago won a spot in the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest by downing a lot of tube steaks this weekend in Apple Valley.
Bertoletti ate 41 Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes during the Saturday contest, according to the International Federation of Competitive Eating, a New York organizaion that supervises and regulates eating contests nationwide. Patrick Vandam was second with 30 and Mike Fitzgerald was third with 23 1/2.
The contest, which was held at Cub Foods in Apple Valley, is one of 13 regional qualifiers for the Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating competition. The contest is held the Fourth of July at Coney Island.
Bertoletti is known as a "sweet specialist" and holds nearly every pie record on the books, according to IFOCE. Last July, he ate 9.17 pounds of blueberry pie — hands free — in eight minutes during the Stand By Me World Pie Eating championship.
Besides winning a seat at the Nathan's table, Bertoletti also gets a year's supply of hot dogs.
The 2007 Nathan's champion, Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., ate 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.
Fans Cry as Don Lerman Exits The Competitive eating table For now... This is Don Lerman As I watch the CEparade pass bye I can only ponder as how many new school eaters are in the sport for more years that I was I was an active eater for 6 years in that span of time a built up the sport with others to a crshendo and than I feel that I was pushed rather than jumped off the CE scene as an eater. I miss being a partsipant at the table and whenI lose the lbs and get all my dental work done , you can bet th efarm..I'll be back
The FCC has shown a heightened interest in monitoring the way on-air contests, promotions, sweepstakes and giveaways (collectively referred to as "contests") are conducted at radio stations across the country. On March 2, the FCC released four separate Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALF) finding several radio stations apparently liable for their apparent violation of Section 73.1216 of the Commission's rules. That rule requires a broadcast licensee to "fully and accurately disclose the material terms of a contest ... and conduct the contest substantially as announced or advertised." Material terms include those factors that define the operation of the contest and how a listener can participate in the contest. Although the material terms may vary depending upon the exact nature of the contest, they will generally include: how to enter or participate; eligibility restrictions; entry deadline dates; whether prizes can be won; when prizes can be won; the extent, nature and value of prizes; the basis for valuation of prizes; time and means of selection of winners; and/or tiebreaking procedures.
In one instance, the FCC fined a Kansas broadcaster $4,000 in connection with a station contest entitled "Guess What Is in the Santa Sack." The complainant alleged that the station failed to award her the $1,000 cash prize for guessing correctly what was in the sack. After the station conducted a series of internal investigations, it was revealed that the station in fact had failed to award the cash prize to the complainant and broadcast over-the-air material terms of the contest. The licensee explained that the prize had not been awarded due to employee error, that the program director responsible for conducting the contest had been reprimanded, and that a letter of apology along with the $1,000 cash prize had been sent to the complainant. The FCC stated that "inadvertence or employee oversight" does not excuse a station from liability and that "licensees are responsible for the actions of their employees."
In another case, the FCC fined a New Jersey broadcaster $4,000 in connection with a contest entitled the "Treasure Vault," in which the eighth caller that could guess a four-digit code would win a cash prize of $275. The complainant used multiple telephone lines to call the station. He reached the station on one line first and was informed that he was the "seventh caller" and that he should "please try again." When the station picked up the complainant's second telephone line, making him the eighth caller in line, the complainant was informed by station personnel that he was still considered only the "seventh caller." The station eliminated the complainant from the contest on the basis that the use of multiple telephone lines constituted only one call. The contest rules in effect during the contest contained no restrictions on the use of multiple phone lines by contest participants. The FCC faulted the station for changing the rules of the contest, without notice to the public, by restricting the method by which a potential participant could be chosen. The FCC stated that the licensee's contention that the rules change was not intended to exclude the complainant specifically, or that the station did not award the advertised prize to anyone else, did not mitigate its liability.
The FCC fined a Philadelphia broadcaster $4,000 in connection with a competitive eating contest entitled "Wing Off," in which the winners would be offered the opportunity to compete in another popular competitive eating competition called "Wing Bowl 13." The station revoked the prize after determining that the winner belonged to a competitive eating association, the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (AICE). The licensee stated that AICE is a rival of another competitive eating association historically associated with Wing Bowl 13, the Independent Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). Thus, the licensee argued that the complainant should have known that members of associations in rivalry with IFOCE could not compete in the contest. By the licensee's own admission, the contest rules did not specify or permit disqualification of persons associated with AICE. Therefore, the FCC faulted the station for failing to disclose material terms, such as eligibility requirements, prior to the contest. In addition, the FCC stated that the fact that the station had previously disqualified a contestant for similar reasons suggested that the eligibility requirements were not self-evident to contestants and put the licensee on notice to include information about this material term in the rules for the Wing Off contest.
In the last case, the complainant won the grand prize in a contest conducted by a Massachusetts radio station. The prize consisted of a free two-year lease on a 2005 Buick LaCrosse automobile, or its cash equivalent, from the co-sponsor, Bob Pion Pontiac, and a "trunk load full" of memorabilia of the musical group Aerosmith. The complainant alleged that although he was assured by the station's staff that all of his prizes would be delivered to him by July 22, 2005, he was still awaiting delivery of the memorabilia portion of the prize as of December 31, 2005. Although the contest-specific rules in this case were silent on the issue of when the prizes were to be delivered, the FCC stated that "licensees are obligated to provide all promised prizes in a reasonably prompt manner in such circumstances, consistent with their overall duty to conduct broadcast contests fairly and without deception." Furthermore, the FCC stated that timely fulfillment is an implied term of any contest in which prizes are advertised, unless contest rules expressly state to the contrary. Based on these criteria, the FCC found that the licensee's six-month delay in awarding the memorabilia prize was significant and that it constituted a failure to comply with the duty to provide prizes in a reasonably prompt manner.
Given the FCC's heightened level of scrutiny in this area, stations are well advised to plan and execute contests very carefully. As the Commission has said, "the standards are high, for while contests are particularly susceptible to abuse, abuses can be prevented by diligent licensee attention to the planning and conduct of contests."
July 4th in Coney Island, the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place with the world's best competing to be the top dog.Saturday at the Cub Foods in Apple Valley, the Midwest Qualifying event took place, with the winner advacing to those National Championships.In the end, Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti from Chicago, blew away the competition. The #2 ranked hot dog eater in the International Federation of Competitive Eating, pounded down 41 dogs in 10 minutes to earn the trip to Coney Island.
41 hot dogs in 10 minutes, and an appetite for more
It took Patrick Bertoletti 10 minutes to eat 41 hot dogs -- with buns -- on Saturday, a gastronomical feat he pulled off in a Cub Foods parking lot to the tune of "Teenage Wasteland" by the Who. Standing before a few dozen onlookers and flanked by 14 other contestants, some of them novices who had never entered a speed-eating contest, Bertoletti, 22, dipped the hot dogs into warm fruit punch before stuffing them into his mouth two at a time as the clock ticked to zero. Afterward, recounting his victory, he said he could eat more, with a little training. "I don't feel full," said Bertoletti. His journey to the boundaries of gluttony and beyond came courtesy of Nathan's Famous, the Coney Island hot dog company that for the past 92 years has sponsored a hot dog eating contest on July 4th. Saturday's contest at a Cub Foods in Apple Valley was a preliminary round for the upcoming national competition. The spectacle of competitive eating landed in the Twin Cities on the same day that local residents were asked to help those who go without: the National Association of Letter Carriers annual food drive, the largest single-day food drive in the country. On Saturday, letter carriers across the nation collected nonperishable items and distributed them to area food shelves on behalf of the 4 percent of Americans who don't get enough to eat every day, many of them children. "We have a goal for 1.2 million pounds in one day," said Heidi Stennis, a spokeswoman for Second Harvest, the local food bank distributing the food collected Saturday by metro area postal carriers. She said early results appeared promising. Whatever contradictions the events might have suggested were lost on the crowd at the Cub Foods parking lot. Children were invited to finger-paint with ketchup, mustard and relish. Families at another table were challenged to make the most creative hot dog sculptures they could imagine
Eating Champion Consumes Massive Meal in Record Time at Inaugural Andy’s Big 'A' Champion Crowned 05-08-2008
Greenville, N.C. --- Five minutes and 15 seconds, that’s all it took for Connecticut resident Joe “The Gentleman” Menchetti to consume an Andy’s 50 ounce burger, fries and drink in the inaugural Andy’s Big “A” Challenge. Held recently in Greenville, North Carolina, Andy’s invited 10 Finalist who had the best qualifying times for eating the massive meal to compete to see who could consume the meal the fastest in an inaugural eating challenge.
Known state wide for their famous Cheeseburgers, Andy’s created the eating challenge as a way for their clients to have a little fun. Customers at any Andy’s location can take the challenge and if they can finish the meal in 30 minutes, it’s free. Word of the competition spread and Andy’s had people travel from all over the Southeast to attempt to qualify for one of the 10 finalists spots. Menchetti drove down from Connecticut prior to the finals to qualify and then back again for the big day. For his efforts, Menchetti took home $1,000 for first place.
“We have people come in and take the challenge all the time,” stated Kenny Moore President of Andy’s Burgers, Shakes & Fries. “We thought it would be fun to get the people together that have done it the fastest and really see how quickly someone could eat the meal. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to doing it again next year.”
When asked about the drive Menchetti stated, “It was well worth the trip, I’m thrilled to be the First Andy’s Big A Champion.” Although he is not a professional, Menchetti does consider himself an avid weekend participant in eating contests of all kind. He has participated in various contests across the country and gained the nick name “Gentleman” for always wearing his signature tuxedo and top hat at competitions.
Finishing just behind Menchetti was Lumberton resident Joshua Currier who completed the challenge in five minutes and 45 seconds and won $500 for his efforts. Shayne Katrigis of Charleston, S.C. was the third place winner who went home with $250 after a seven minute 58 second finishing time.
To learn more about Andy’s Burgers, Shakes & Fries or to watch a video of the Big “A” Challenge visit www.andycheesesteaks.com.
About Andy’s Burgers Shakes & Fries Andy’s offers a unique dining experience where customers enjoy fresh-cooked, quality food in a casual 50’s style diner setting. Since Founder Kenny Moore opened the doors to the first Andy’s location in Goldsboro in 1991, the old fashioned Cheeseburger chain has grown to over 110 locations across North Carolina by providing outstanding food and first class customer service. For more information about Andy’s, please visit www.andyscheesesteaks.com or call 919.635.0902.
WASHINGTON – It’s not just a case of post-holidays blahs - American Jews faced another perennial challenge this Passover: what to do with all the leftover matzah that nobody ate.
Matzah is basically dough that is baked flat, like a large cracker but with a bland taste. Since all bread products are off-limits during Passover, matzah made with just flour and water, becomes the main ingredient in nearly every meal – matzah ball soup, garnishing for soups and salads, bookends for a sandwich, or covered with sauce and cheese for a “matzah pizza.”
Americans bought more than 8 million pounds of matzah a year in 2006, according to the R.A.B. Food Group, which owns the matzah giant Manischewitz. But once the holiday ended Sunday night, the last thing most observant Jews wanted to do was eat more matzah. So what to do with it all the rest?
1. Get functional
A viral video called “20 Things To Do With Matzah” has some creative suggestions: make a matzah license plate for your car, make a picture frame, or use it to line the hamster cage (see it at www.matzahsong.com). The matzah video was shot in a week earlier this year by New York filmmaker William Levin and paid for by Streit's Matzah, which saw it as a cool marketing ploy. The film made its way around the Internet and was even featured on Yahoo! Video. Other ideas from the film: “Insulate, decorate, exfoliate.”
2. Get artsy Last year, a major matzah company teamed up with New York University to sponsor a Matzah art contest. The New York Sun documented the contest by the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, which included dioramas, and an all-matzah rendering of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. NYU Sophomore James Donovan won first place for his scale matzah model of Washington Square Arch.
3. Get thee to a soup kitchen This year, the Bronfman Center decided not to hold its art contest, but instead donated excess matzah to City Harvest, a “food rescue” agency that collects and redistributes left-over food. More than 50 pounds of matzah was donated, according to Melanie Meadows, a Bronfman spokeswoman. “Usually it just sits round and nobody uses it, so we give it away,” she said.
4. Get natural Zookeepers at Safari Zoo near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv declared they were going to remove leavened products from the diets of all their animals during the eight days of Passover. The result? Some remarkable photos of adorable orangutans climbing ropes with pieces of matzah in their mouths.
5. Get hungry With competitive eating events on the rise, a matzah ball eating contest was inevitable. This year, Texas raised the ante and hosted the World Matzah Ball Eating Championship in Houston. Sponsored by a Jewish deli, the event was won by Joey Chestnut, who ate an incredible 78 matzah balls in eight minutes.
6. Get cooking Matzah tends to keep a while – some people even hold their unopened kosher for Passover products in the closet for the next Passover. So there’s no reason you can’t integrate some matzah into some post-Passover dishes. Check out a recipe for caramel matzah crunch at Epicurious.com, one for Matzah kugel on the Food Network or Matzah French toast at chowhound.com.
Sam's Club(R) Hosts Qualifying Tour for Nathan's(R) Famous Fourth of July 2008 Hot Dog Eating Contest
Nathan's Hot Dogs Make Sam's Club Cafe Menu Nationwide
BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Hot Dog lovers and sport eaters were in awe last Fourth of July when underdog Joey Chestnut, beat six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi at the Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Championship. This year, the race for top dog is on, and Sam's Club is proud to be the destination for qualifying events throughout the nation. Beginning this month, Sam's Club locations nationwide will add Nathan's Hot Dogs to the cafe menu.
"We are looking forward to supporting such a highly acclaimed and exciting sport, as it continues to grow and becomes a fast favorite in America," said Dennis Horn, Director of Merchandise at Sam's Club. "Sam's Club cafes are on par with community dinners and we are thrilled to add Nathan's to our menu in 570 locations."
The winner of each qualifying round will compete at the original Nation's Famous in Coney Island July 4th for the coveted Mustard Yellow Belt. Qualifiers are open to those 18 years of age and older, and applications will be taken online at http://www.nathansfamous.com.
The 2008 Nathan's Famous hot dog-eating circuit begins at select Sam's Club locations on May 17th in Chicago. Other cities on the tour that will be housed at Sam's Club locations include Pittsburgh (May 24), Overland Park, KS (May 31), New Orleans, (June 4) and Dallas (June 21).
"Our hot dog eating contest has occurred in Coney Island since 1916, and the excitement grows every year," said Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathan's Famous, Inc. "Bringing in Sam's Club to host qualifying rounds was a natural way to celebrate our partnership and announce to our fans that they can enjoy a Nathan's hot dog any day of the year at Sam's Club."
In addition to hosting the qualifying competition, Members, participants and fans alike will be welcome to cheer for their favorite eater and enjoy a $1 Nathan's hot dog and Coca-Cola (R) special in the Sam's Club Cafe. And for those under 18, who are looking to take part in the action, Sam's Club will be holding a "Neat Eater" contest for children under 12 to participate in the festivities.
Competitive eating's hallmark competition garners live attendance of 45,000 fans on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island. An additional 1.5 million households tuned in to the contest's live broadcast on ESPN as they witnessed Chestnut achieve a world record by eating 66 Nathan's Hot Dogs and Wonderbread Buns in the 12-minute contest. This year's contestants will meet at Sam's Club locations locally as they rally for rights to compete in the historic Coney Island storefront.
About Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The first Sam's Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1983 and serves more than 47 million U.S. Members. Sam's Club offers exceptional values on merchandise and services for business owners and consumers. Online merchandise and club information is available at samsclub.com.
About Major League Eating
Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the events are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.
WHILE Ilminster continues to make preparations to host next month's British Barbecue Championships, one Chard pub is gearing up to staging its very own culinary competition.
The Phoenix Hotel in Fore Street will be holding a mouth-bulging hot dog eating contest on May 23 and now licensees Andy and Jenny Kenton are looking for teams of two to take part in the fun event.
It will cost each team £5 to enter and all proceeds on the night will be donated to a local charity or voluntary organisation of the winner's choice.
Each team will be given ten minutes to eat as many hot dogs as possible and they will be awarded points on how they do under the watchful eye of a designated scorekeeper.
Jenny said: "It should be a fun night and we hope to raise some money for charity, but we've come up with some strict rules for the contestants.
"Hot dogs still in the mouth at the end of the time will count only if they are then swallowed, but there will be deductions in their score for excess debris!"
But Jenny added: "We've been kind however by allowing teams to give some extra taste to their hot dogs by adding condiments such as ketchup and mustard - but the contestants will have to provide that themselves!"
There will be various prizes for the winners and a raffle will be held on the night.
Teams must sign in by 7.30pm on the night of the contest on May 23 and it is only open to people aged over 18.
* Hot dog eating contests are popular across the world and here we see one contestant about to tuck into 50 of the popular fast food delights. Can anyone do better than that at the Phoenix Hotel in Chard on May 23?
DELAPLANE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL,10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 24-25, Sky Meadows State Park, 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane. Music, food, hayrides, raffles, contests, children's games, crafts and national strawberry-eating championship. Benefits regional ministries and outreach programs at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Delaplane. $20 per vehicle at the gate or $15 in advance. 540-364-2772 or http://www.delaplanestrawberryfestival.com.
Stomach ache: The cable channel G4 is taking competitive eating competitions to the next level with a new series that combines speed-eating with intense physical challenges. In each episode, five contestants attempt to consume the largest quantity of food in a short amount of time and are then immediately subjected to a series of challenges designed to shake them up.
The one to hold his or her food down the longest claims victory and walks away with a cash prize, the Iron Stomach Award.
The half-hour series, "Hurl!" premieres this summer.
Menu items sound a little less than appetizing Kent Conwell
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm kind of slow. I don't keep up with much of the current goingons, figuring most of what's taking place is only a rehashing of events from the past five or six decades.
Such an attitude can be a perfect setup for a big surprise, as I discovered. The other day, I stumbled on to an event (yes, even a blind dog finds a bone from time to time) that, given the hopeless mentality of our globe, will undoubtedly become one of the featured Olympic competitions, overshadowing those intrepid, anxiously anticipated contests like archery, air rifle, kayaking, and water coloring.
So, what is this competitive sport lurking on the horizon, all bunched to make its jump to the world's most recognizable competition?
I thought you'd never ask.
It is the glutinous, gurgitating sport of competitive eating.
That's right. Competitive eating.
Hold on, hold on.
I'm like you. I had no idea competitive eating was such a growing sport;(Sport? Well, I don't know. We'll have to see.) but the other day, I ran across a couple articles that piqued my curiosity.
Now, all I knew about competitive eating was that around the Fourth of July, someplace up around Long Island always hosts a hotdog eating contest that is usually won by a skinny Asian gentlemen who could somehow put two hundred pounds of hotdogs into his one hundred and fifty pound body in eighteen minutes.
All right, all right. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, a tad, but a few years back, Takeru 'The Tsunami' Kobayashi downed fifty and a half hot dogs and buns in twelve minutes. Kobayashi weighed 113 before the contest and 120 after.
The truth is, I had no idea competitive eating was such a widespread attraction. Sure, I'd noticed the hot dog eating contests, but I had no idea this sort of competition was a year around venue.
There exists, in fact, an International Federation of Competitive Eating, IFORCE.
No, no, no, no. I'm not kidding.
And this organization keeps a list of records for everything from twenty-four inch pizzas (7 ½ extra large bacci pizza slices in fifteen minutes by Richard LeFevre) to deep fried asparagus (eight and a half pounds Tempura spears in ten minutes by Joey Chestnut).
I didn't know what to make of it all.
When I learned that in 2005, a tiny Asian woman by the name of Sonya Thomas downed almost eight and a half pounds of Vienna sausage in ten minutes, I almost dropped my teeth.
I figured this all had to be a farce, but I was wrong.
IFOCE has its own web site, guidelines, safety warnings (you know, 'don't try this at home,'), and record books. They even have their own store where you can purchase a multitude of items from shirts to CDs.
Now, I'm an open-minded guy. I figure if someone has his own thing going, more power to him. But the truth is, when I looked at some of the events offered by IFOCE, I began to get sort of queasy at my stomach.
I mean, beef tongue. Three pounds, three ounces of pickled beef tongue in twelve minutes. You read right. Pickled. I'd have tossed it back up after two seconds.
And then the baked beans. Would you believe that little Asian woman gobbled down eight and four tenths pounds in two minutes and forty-seven seconds?
Wow, I wouldn't have wanted to hang around there for the awards ceremony. But then, they probably handed out the awards immediately and got the dickens out of there.
There are over 125 categories of everything from watermelon to tamales to shoo-fly pie to Krystal Hamburgers to deep fried okra. There one even for 'cow brains.'
Remember the little skinny Asian guy? He sucked down 17.7 pounds of cow brains in fifteen minutes.
All I can say is you'd have to be blessed with cow brains to do any of that.
Kent Conwell is a retired Port Neches teacher and author. He can be reached at email@example.com
Competitive eating is probably one step higher than poker on the sports list. The competitors are fat and lazy individuals who get paid mass sums of money to eat giant portions of food, from hot dogs to aspargus. Sounds un-athletic, but a few faces in the game are changing things around.
Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut are the athletes redefining what it means to be a competitive eater. They are slender, fit individuals who consistently put the rest of the competitors to shame.
On an MTV reality show "True Life: I'm a Competitive Eater," cameras followed Kobayashi around as he trained his way to the competition. Not only was eating massive quantities of calories a part of his routine, but he actually exercised, working out his abdominals.
Competitions usually last only a few minutes, like the famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest that lasts 12, but athletes still need plenty of endurance. Body control and focus are important in keeping all the food down because regurgitation means disqualification.
Kobayashi is in tremendous shape, sporting six-pack abs to show what a competitive eater will look like in the future. Competitive eating may still be on the fence of sport or not a sport, but with true athletes like Kobayashi and Chestnut leading the way, it wouldn't be surprising to see more competitors slimming down and working out.
Therefore, to quote Round Up sports reporter Anthony Reyes, competitive eating, "which is not subjectively judged, falls into the field of sport."
Anthony Reyes Sports Reporter
The activity of eating in a competitive format is growing rapidly in popularity and has caused some to even deem it as a sport. After competing in the inaugural TRU Hot Dog Eating Contest, I must say it was much more challenging than I previously anticipated.
Although the competitors do decide the outcome, the simple act of eating, which is one all humans must do in order to survive, can never be deemed a sport. If one follows that logic, then basic survival and living could be seen as sports as well.
Moses News .Com Is Changing! This is Don ''Moses'' Lerman speaking we at Moses news .com are changing our format , in the mean while feel free to comment on any eating subject you so desire, I will be undergoing extensive dental work a lot of extractions of teeth to make way for dental implants , I "m also on a diet and definitely will be 205lbs by 4th of July and my goal is 165-170 by Rosh Hashana ( the end of September) My recovery will be a slow one almost a year , but to quote General Mac Arthur I shall someday return to the competitive eating table , in the meanwhile I will be attending the Carnegi United pickle contest perhaps as an honorary judge , but definitely as a reporter for Moses News .com and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the veterans for contribution this memorial day. Thank you and be well.Don Lerman
Not just a pierogie-eating contest, but the National Pierogie Eating Contest will be held Saturday at Bethel Park High School.
Organized by Clara's Pittsburgh Pierogies and the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (a wing of All Pro Eating Promotions), the event will give some of the money it raises to the American Cancer Society, which is holding its overnight Relay for Life that day.
The restaurant's Jacki Drevitch says this is Clara's third pierogie-eating contest.
It was New York-based AICE's idea to bill this one "national" and "I said, 'It works for me.' "
Amateur entrants pay $25 to compete, and there's a pro portion, too, featuring at least a half dozen experienced "gut gladiators," including:
Pete "Broken Wing" Maurizio (McKeesport man who won the 2005 Pittsburgh Wing Championship Series)
Mark "The Human Vacuum" Lyle (Gahanna, Ohio bruiser who in 2006 alone won the National County Fair Foods Eating Championship, American Meatball Eating Championship and the World Rib Eating Championship)
David "Coondog" O'Karma (Akron man said to hold world records for eating doughnuts as well as corn-on-the-cob)
Ian "The Invader" Hickman (Sterling, Va., champ whom AICE describes as the "National Spoon Bread, World Fried Zucchini, National Potato Latke and World Elvis Sandwich Eating Champion").
Also expected is two-time Cleveland pierogie powerhouse Tiny Tim RauschederCarey "Powerhouse" Poehlmann. and the recent winner of the Nanticoke (N.C.) Music Festival pierogie eating contest,
As AICE chairman Arnie "Chowhound" Chapman puts it, "There's going to be some heavy, heavy hitters there."
At this event, competitors will have five minutes to eat as many pierogies as they can.
According to AICE, the record is 29, set at Clara's second annual contest in January by Bob "Killer" Kuhns of Freeport, who'll be there to comp-eat this time, too.
There's also a Ms. Pierogie Talent Contest, in which "women of all shapes, sizes and ages" will be judged on their attire, pierogie talents and their answers to two of several possible pierogie prompts, including, "Connect world peace and pierogies."
The best way to win a contest is to be the only competitor to show up.
Fred Aragon of Grand Junction was the winner and only competitor Saturday in the zoot suit contest that was part of the Latin-Anglo Alliance Foundation’s 26th annual Cinco de Mayo Festival downtown.
“I had to give it a shot,” Aragon said with a smile.
Dressed in a crisp black-on-black, striped suit, Aragon proudly carried around his nearly 2-foot-high, gold-and-pink trophy for all to see. He smiled, posed and shook the hands of friends who walked by.
“I was hoping for a bigger one,” Aragon said jokingly about the trophy.
A zoot suit is high-waisted trousers paired with a long coat and topped off with a felt hat. Aragon also wore wing-tip shoes.
He said his wife told him he’d embarrass himself by entering the contest, but lo and behold, he won. She was happy he entered in the end.
Aragon said he purchased the suit in San Antonio. He plans to display the trophy in his house next to his model cars. That trophy will be the first thing he sees when he walks in the room, he said.
“First place, mind you,” Aragon said. “Not second, not third.”
There were plenty of other contests and events during the Cinco de Mayo festival. Jason Manzanares, emcee of the car show stage, said the turnout was “excellent.”
Six people entered the jalapeno eating contest, in which contestants had to eat as many jalapenos as they could in 20 minutes. First place won free beer all day from the beer tent, plus $100 and a CD.
Spectators stared at the contestants’ reddening faces, although winner Curtis L. Cummings, who ate 11 spicy peppers, barely broke a sweat.
When asked on stage what his jalapeno eating secret was, the crowd hushed in anticipation of his response.
“Eating them for breakfast with my eggs,” Cummings replied.
People walked back and forth across Main Street between stages to see the traditional dancers, young singers, vendor booths and the hopping low-rider car demonstration produced by the Solo Car Club. Saturday night’s activities included the annual street dance with New Mexico performer Bryan Olivas.
The Latin-Anglo Alliance awarded education scholarships to nine area students. Winners were Diana Loya, Norma Treto, Shaneille Robles, Alexander Rodriguez, Joseph Trujillo, Jose Cervantes, Martin Medina, Liliana Gutierrez and Carolina Rodriguez.
PILING ON: Crazy Legs Conti can down massive amounts of corn, oysters and hot dogs. Could there be lasting damage?
As the sport grows in popularity, researchers are studying the physiology. Doctors worry that extreme eaters may be endangering their health.
By Karen Ravn, Special to The Times May 5, 2008
At 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, Crazy Legs Conti stays in shape with jogging (he's run two marathons) and six to eight small, healthful meals a day, heavy on the protein. Most days.
And then there are days when he binges big-time, like the Sunday a few weeks ago when he scarfed a bushel of Florida sweet corn in no time flat.
This was not self-indulgence. It was self-disciplined preparation for the April 27 National Sweet Corn Eating Championship in Palm Beach, Fla., where Conti hoped to defend the title he won a year ago after downing 34.75 ears of corn in 12 minutes. (He came in third.) His practice session, he says, was "to figure out the best way to eat one ear and then extrapolate."
Competitive eating, a pastime once considered small potatoes on the entertainment circuit, is now staking its claim as a grade-A sport. Last summer, the field's signature event, Nathan's Famous 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, drew a crowd of nearly 50,000 and was shown live on ESPN.
The sport's rising status has some doctors shaking their heads: Such behavior could potentially cause medical problems, they say, such as an esophageal tear or flaccid stomachs. No such mishaps have yet been reported.
Researchers, meanwhile, have begun to study the sport a bit, which may help answer a question that must have popped into more than one spectator's head: Are extreme-eating champs born or made?
Conti is one of a cast of colorful "gurgitators" -- he faces off against fan favorites such as Eater X, who cultivates a "man of mystery" image, Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas, who says she's out to devour her male competition, and the original food-funneling phenom, Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi of Japan, who won at the Nathan's Famous eat-off for six years straight before losing in 2007 (while eating injured) to Joey "Jaws" Chestnut.
The ability to cram down 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, as Chestnut did, doesn't fall to everyone.
In a study of competitive eating published last year in the American Journal of Roentgenology, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine compared Major League eater Tim Janus (Eater X) with another male who was a hearty eater. They were both told to eat as many hot dogs as they could in 12 minutes. Before the test, they were given a dose of high-density barium, and the researchers used fluoroscopy to observe their stomachs.
The amateur ran out of room before he ran out of time. After hot dog No. 7, he said that even one more bite might make him sick. At that point, fluoroscopy showed minimal stomach expansion. Janus was going strong, and not feeling full or uncomfortable, after 10 minutes and 36 hot dogs.
At that point, the researchers stopped the test because fluoroscopy showed his stomach had assumed such proportions they feared it might be dangerous.
In general, the stomach tells the brain when it's full and the brain later tells the stomach to squirt its contents into the small intestine. So theoretically, a competitive eater could eat a lot in little time if the stomach could hold all that food without feeling full or if it could keep filling up and emptying very quickly.
Fluoroscopy showed that neither man's stomach had emptied itself much during the test. Indeed, if anything, a preliminary test showed that the amateur's stomach emptied itself faster than Janus'.
Instead, the small study suggests that competitive eaters' stomachs may be much more accepting of food.
It's unclear whether nature, nurture or both determine how accommodating a person's stomach is. "It's partly an innate ability and partly learned," says study coauthor Dr. David Metz, a gastroenterology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his colleagues noted that Janus had trained for years, forcing himself to keep eating as his stomach asked him to stop.
Conti trains too -- and this year, he says, he and Janus have both hired a yoga instructor to teach poses and stretches for the stomach to help them achieve at the table. These include Ardha Matsyendrasana (seated spinal twist) and Nauli Kriya (churning of abdomen).
George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating, which oversees 80 competitive eating events a year, believes eaters are born. When he once tried to wolf down hot dogs, "I think I ate six," he says. "Most of our people do not train."
Major League Eating is officially opposed to home training involving large quantities of food, advising that, for safety, speed-eating should be done when appropriate rules are observed and an emergency medical technician is on hand, and never by anyone younger than 18.
Mind-set is also crucial, Shea says. "Some people are gamers. When the pressure is on, they do better than other people." Indeed, Conti hopes his yoga lessons won't just make his stomach more flexible but will also make his mind more relaxed.
The capacities required for competitive eating seem little needed in the real world -- and some doctors worry that such eaters may endanger themselves by developing them.
Metz and colleagues suggest that competitive eaters run the risk of stretching their stomachs so much and so often that, like an old baggy sweater, they eventually won't be able to shrink back to their original size. There is some evidence supporting this fear. Research has shown that obese people have larger stomachs than lean people, and a 2004 study found that obese binge eaters have the largest ones of all. A permanently and severely over-stretched stomach could lose the ability to contract and empty itself, necessitating surgery to relieve the consequent nausea and vomiting.
Dr. Thomas Zarchy, a USC gastroenterology professor, says competitive eaters put themselves at risk for a Mallory-Weiss tear, a rupture where the stomach and esophagus meet. And, over the long haul, doctors say, these eaters might become obese.
Shea says that none of these problems have yet occurred among competitive eaters. "The top 20 are all in incredible shape," he says. (Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas, holder of 26 world eating records, weighs 100 pounds.)
But the danger might come later, the doctors say, when eaters have stopped competing and may have lost the willpower needed to curb their enthusiastic appetites -- having long ago lost the ability to tell when they're full.
Still, with health risks largely theoretical so far, even doctors tend to water down their warnings. "Speed-eating isn't the best thing in the world," Metz says. "But it's not yet been shown that it's a bad thing."
Adds Zarchy: "Everything has a benefit and a risk. Would I do it? No."
Live Oak is going big time with its Cinco de Mayo celebration today, one of two major festivals this weekend observing the Mexican holiday.
A year after its modest inaugural event, this year's celebration will feature more than two dozen vendors, a jalapenos-eating contests traditional dancers and a half-dozen musical acts performing contemporary regional Mexican music.
"I've been thinking about this for a whole year," said Lucia Campos, the Live Oak parks and rec assistant who's organized the festivities.
Sunday sees the Festival Cinco de Mayo staged at Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds. Billed as the biggest event of its kind in Northern California, the celebration attracted about 4,800 people last year. The festival's starting time is two hours earlier than originally scheduled to accommodate the number of bands invited to perform. Mariachis and cultural exhibits also will be featured.
"There will be a variety of everything," said Veronica Ramos of RVR Enterprises, which stages dances, rodeos and Hispanic-themed events throughout California. Mariachis and cultural exhibits are among the offerings.
Both events are free. The weather should cooperate: forecasts call for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s.
Cinco de Mayo is not an observance of Mexican independence; that occurs Sept. 16. May 6 marks the day in 1862 when a small militia of farmers and Zapotec Indians fought off 6,000 well-equipped French forces in the Battle of Puebla in southern Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is mostly a regional holiday in Mexico. It's a much bigger cultural affair in the United States.
"It's the first big Cinco de Mayo we've ever celebrated here in Live Oak," said Campos. "We're hoping for a large turnout. If we don't have the support of the people, we won't have it next year."
Reported by Cary Chow, WALA Photojournalist: Josh Litton
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- PENSACOLA, Fla. - The City of Five Flags is celebrating its Cajun influence in one of the best ways it knows how - eating bugs! Mud bugs that is. The 24th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival started Friday.
We can call it mud bugging - the sport of eating crawfish. At the 24th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival, there were plenty of mudbug lover ready to eat more than 16-thousand pounds of the tiny crustacean. The restaurant Mudbug Mike's provides more than 8-tons of boiled crawfish for the festival. The owner, Mike Hefner, said, "By Sunday afternoon, it'll all be gone."
In addition to crawfish, there's other Cajun food available at the festival, everything from po'boys to fried gator tails. There is also live music and crawfish eating contests.
The festival hours are Saturday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Sunday, May 4, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. It's located at Bartram Park on Bayfront Parkway in Downtown Pensacola.
Victory On The Wing Proves A Fowl (Burp) Affair On ESPN Competitors in ESPN's Mike & Mike show Thursday were, left to right, "Pretty Boy" Pete Davekos, "Eater X"(Tim Janus), show co-host Mike Golic and "Crazy Legs" (Jason) Conti. (MARYELLEN FILLO / May 1, 2008) MaryEllen Fillo JAVA May 2, 2008 Article tools
It as either a man's dream come true — a roomful of TVs featuring sporting events and tables with 25 pounds of chicken wings — or a nurse's nightmare as four guys stuffed handfuls of the boneless pieces of spicy bird into their mouths while trying not to gag.Welcome to Thursday's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" segment on ESPN Radio and ESPN2, "The Feast on the First."As they do every year, co-hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg participated in an NCAA men's bracket pool. This year, Golic lost. So as part of the show from ESPN's Bristol studios, Greenberg's victory meant Golic was part of a competitive eating competition — wings at 8 a.m.And this was no amateur chowdown: also participating in the three-minute eat-off were professional competitive eaters Crazy Legs (Jason) Conti, Eater X (Tim Janus) and Pretty Boy Pete Davekos. MaryEllen Fillo E-mailRecent columns Related links "The Feast on the First" At ESPNPhotos "It is the first time I have ever been asked to do something like this," said ESPN nurse Nancy Mello, armed with a bucket in case anyone's wings should fly.Greenberg was also taking no chances. He wore a hazmat suit, in case Golic's gastro system let go.But the contest went without a hitch. Eater X won the trophy by downing 31 wings."This really wasn't that hard for me; our competitions are usually much longer than this," said Janus, whose other gastronomic successes include eating 43.5 Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs in 12 minutes. Crazy Legs, best known for downing 34 dozen oysters in three hours, came in at 23 wings. Pretty Boy, who once won a scallop-eating duel to win over a girl, swallowed 22 wings.Golic? A mere 15, but he got an extra "attaboy" for forcing the last four wings down his throat, even though the cameras had stopped."I'm OK; I'm proud of how many I finished," said Golic, who barely had time to burp after the feeding frenzy because he had to catch a plane for Louisville and the Kentucky Derby. "I'm ready for dessert."
April 30, 2008, 5:02PM It takes discipline to win a gyros-eating contest
By KEN HOFFMAN
How do you train for an all-you-can-eat gyro contest?
With other sports, you train by practicing right up to game time. The Houston Rockets will practice basketball the day before a game, have a shoot-around that afternoon and do layup drills two minutes before the opening jump ball.
With competitive eating, the last thing you want before a gyro-eating contest is a bellyful of sliced beef and lamb, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce stuffed in warm pita bread. Yum.
I'm not going to argue whether eating 8.8 pounds of deep-fried asparagus in 10 minutes is an athletic event. The International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) calls it a sport. That's good enough for me.
"Gyros are a tough discipline because of the meat and bread combination. I'm working on my strategy. I will be ready when the horn blows," said David Cagle, Houston's top-ranked stomach stuffer. The IFOCE has Cagle rated the No. 50 competitive eater in the world.
To get a handle on Cagle: He's 45, paints his face like the rock band KISS and prefers that you call him SyKoBOZO.
"I spell it that way because it looks like a ransom note," he said.
In real life, Cagle draws up building plans for the City of Houston (your tax dollars at work), deejays at parties and works concert security.
The 4th Annual Original Gyro Eating Contest sponsored by Niko Nikos Greek-American Restaurant will be at 7:30 p.m. May 17 during the Festival of Greece at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church, 1100 Eldridge Parkway. This is the first time the contest will be sanctioned by the IFOCE.
Festival of Greece is its official name. But everybody calls it the Greek Festival. Either way, the baklava and gyros taste just as fantastic. The festival runs May 15-18. For information on how to enter the gyro-eating contest, click on www.ifoce.com.
Here's SyKo's strategy. (I know him, so I get to call him SyKo.)
"I won't eat for 12-14 hours before the event. Some of the contestants starve themselves for two or three days before a contest, but that doesn't feel right for me. I've been practicing on gyros for the past week or so.
"The first time, I ate a few of them as a complete sandwich. I'm going back today, and I'll separate the meat from the bread to see if that works better. Gyros don't eat real fast. There's a lot of meat in there, and the bread is kind of thick."
He's got other problems beside meat and bread. Staring across the table from him will be Pat Bertoletti, the No. 2 eater in the world. "Deep Dish" Bertoletti once ate 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes and 16 pounds of strawberry shortcake in 8 minutes. Both feats were done, presumably on different days, in IFOCE-sanctioned contests.
Tim Janus, the No. 4 eater in the world, is entered. Janus, another face painter, specializes in ethnic foods such as sushi, cannolis, tamales and — uh-oh — gyros. Fifth-ranked "Humble" Bob Shoudt and 12th-ranked Erik "The Red" Denmark will compete, too.
The Greek Festival is negotiating to bring in the legendary No. 1 eater Joey Chestnut, who won the matzo ball-eating contest last time he was in Houston.
Internationally renowned, but Houston-based, financial wizard Brent Bechtol, claiming to be in the "best eating shape of my life," is considering making his professional debut in the gyro contest.
Then there's the problem of timing. The gyro contest will be held at 7:30 p.m.
"That's unusual for us. Most eating contests are held in the afternoon. I called the Greek Festival when I heard it was being held at night just to double check. I'm hoping that will throw off some of the other contestants," SyKoBOZO said.
Just when you thought this couldn't get better, Houston is now the No. 1 city for competitive eating contests in America. We've already had the matzo ball contest, next up is gyros, and in September, the Kolache Factory Kolache Eating Contest returns to Minute Maid Park after an Astros game.
If you want to party with a bunch of guys who've just eaten waaaay too much, the post-gyro bash will be held at the Meridian night club, 1503 Chartres. Refreshments will be available.