It has been a busy five weeks. The string of contests started with a rib contest April 17th in Lula Mississippi. I love a good rib contest, but the ribs in Lula were aweful. I really tried to ignore the taste, but I couldn't. I ended up getting beat by "Humble" Boob Shoudt, a vegetarian from Pennsylvania. I was really embarrassed that I could not ignore the taste, then I became angry that the sponsor would serve food that tastes so awful...
One week later I was competing in Stockton California, eating deep fried asparagus. Stockton is close to my home town of Vallejo and San Jose, where I live, so it was important for me to come out on top... and I did.. I won the contest by eating 8.4 pounds of asparagus in ten minutes, second place went to the new comer Ben "Baby Face" Monson, who ate 6.1 pounds. On a side note, in the five years have been involved in competitive eating I consider ben to be the hungriest, most talented rookie I have encountered. That being said, I enjoy beating him.
On May 1st I ate Subway Cheese Steak Sandwiches in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where I was able to punish "Humble" Shoudt for the the rib contest. I threw down 19 six sandwiches in 10 minutes, beating the Shoudt by a foot and a half.
A day after getting back from Pennsylvania, I started training for a wonton eating contest in Singapore, where I would meet kobayashi for showdown on Sunday May 9th. I arrived in Singapore on Thursday and emediatley started getting my body used to eating an absurd amount of shirmp wontons. On friday I was able to eat close to three hundred wontons in short practice, then I started fasting for sunday's contest. I was worried that I ate too many wontons on friday and my body would not be able to digest the food and empty out in time for sunday's contest. When Sunday came I was feeling good (empty and amped). The contest was sponsored by CP Foods, and they knew how to put on a show! and the crowd was huge. When the contest started I pulled into an early lead, and then lost it about a minute into the contest. When it was announced that Takeru was winning, the audience erupted, and it became clear who their favorite eater was... As the crowd cheered, my goal changed from winning, to shutting them up. I pushed hard and by minute five we were even and then the crowd was silenced when it became clear that I was in the lead. I took a look a Koby and I could see that he was starting to let the pain show on his face, and I knew the win was mine... In the end, Koby ate 370 wontons and I ate 380. Singapore is an amazing place, and even though I am not the peoples favorite eater I would love to have the opportunity to compete there again.
Last weekend, I ended up in Houston, Texas, for a Gyro eating contest. Going into the contest I knew it would be close, Bertoletti had beaten me there two years ago and he was confident. I was happy to be in Houston and I had a good number of fans that pushed me throughout the contest. Pat led almost the entire contest, but one thing about Pat is... I can count on him to hit a wall in minute 9 and let me pass by him. Pat was able to eat 20, while I was able to edge him out by eating 21. Houston was great and I cannot wait to get back to Tejas!
Now it is all about the HDB's... I am looking for a new record, I am also expecting a lot of competition.
September 27th is one of the biggest contests of the year, the Krystal Square Off. It is safe to say that for the last two years I have dominated the Square Off (I know it sounds bad, but it is true). I really enjoy the taste of the burgers and the fast pace of the contest. Last year I won by eight burgers (a good lead).
This year the contest organizers have changed the rules of the contest, and competitors are no longer going to be able to dunk the burgers in water. My first thought was that it is not a big deal, but after I started practicing it became obvious that my numbers will go down, and then I became pissed!! I understand that some eaters make a mess while dunking, and totals get inflated (they should be penalized). I also understand that the dunking is a little gross and it takes away from how delicious the Krystal burgers are... But this is a competitive speed eating contest!! Not a competitive neat/pretty eating contest... When I enter a contest, I am prepared to do almost anything to get the food down as fast as possible, and it should be legal (within reason)... people might say I am upset because i am worried that some eaters are better at eating dry hard to eat items. I say bullsh!t!! I am not worried about any of the competitors, I am just upset that I will have to change my technique and it will now be harder for me to break my old record of 103 krystals...I am optimistic that I can still beat it ;)
Now that I have that out of my system.lol.. it is time for me to look ahead to the actual contest and the competitors... I see Pat Bertoletti and Koby as the strongest eaters at the table (other than myself..lol). Over the weekend Pat qualified for the finals by eating 67 burgers. I expect him to get into the high 80's by the finals... I was told that kobayashi will qualify in the next couple weeks. It will be interesting to see how he eats the krystals this year (i might just copy and improve on his technique). I expect koby to qualify with close to 90 (that guy can eat)... I am in a good spot... I get to watch all the eaters and I get to perfect my technique and the competition can only guess about what I am going to do.
It is going to be a great contest... Chattanooga always has a great audience and it is easy to push myself to the limit.
What is it about July 4th that makes me have to take a good crap? Or to quote kingpin? Lots of build up and occasionally a great pay off, not usually monetary in nature because we’re not talking about a sponsor that puts up good prize money or gives a damn but more in experience, emotions, and furthering friendship. This leads me to believe that sometimes it doesn’t really matter what you do to prepare. You can prepare, have a good day and it will pay off. Or prepare, have a bad day, and lastly not prepare at all and have a great day. That good day is fleeting because maybe it wasn’t necessary to reignite your awkward puberty and cool ranch dorito fueled acne break outs. Eating 10lbs+ of hot dogs a few times a week makes me seek acne remedies from that nerdy krusty burger drive through employee. But, if this eating thing doesn’t work out I may find some potential in sponsorship from pro active formula or as a before picture model of hydroxycut.
Last year all my preparation was for none as I built up my body to handle the bulk of 14 lbs of hot dogs. All that effort wasted, but conclusions are promising in that I can seek comfort knowing that some days you won’t win or have your best stuff. You may find that during the encased steak tip off it’s tipped to your opponent, and has left you up **** creek without a paddle. I am pleased to say that I put in my time and effort for this years contest, although training time was far over shadowed by the time spent not wanting to train and with good old fashion procrastination. It seriously sucks as sessions are usually at odd hours of the day and can take up your entire evening. The benefits of training are to win and see improvements. In comparison to actual workouts it actually feels good after you lift with a bunch of oiled and body sprayed up gym monkeys. Not really with them but in observation hoping to recount to your buddies how Chris Angels buddies were in town. As far as eating relates, you see benefits by building strength and stamina. But sub the pleasant burn with utter pain and discomfort, making sure to barter the gym monkeys for the fringe of society fratish, binge on every substance, with a squeeze of self loathing and a garnish of everything competitive eating/ers. There is no reason to train besides pride and an actual belief you will hold that $5 mustard belt over your nitrate numbed top half. Perhaps going in I thought I had a shot.
My training and preparation and late night stretching my stomach with beer and cheese curds really payed off, and I could not have been happier with my performance. 55 hot dogs in 10 minutes is a new level of capacity and performance. Way off Joey’s pace but I am making up ground and someday I will catch him. My only quip was that my jaws were taxed early in the contest. I wish the tv coverage was better to get an idea of our dog splits, times for 20/30/40 hot dogs would have been nice. I know I was on the fastest pace of my life the entire contest, not once thinking of letting loose and showering the crowd with hot dog shrapnel. Not to mention I had my sweet Tony Clifton outfit on and intact, it certainly slowed me down by the restraint and heat, I honestly can’t believe I ate so many that day. This was like my eating bar mitzvah in that I finally ate like a man, with my first qualifier 5 years ago as my briss. I felt like a rabid dog eating 2 at a time shoving whole buns down my throat, I switched back to my animalistic tendencies and savagely devoured that koshered bull meat. I don’t know what the hell I was doing besides that it was working. I was frantically using all my energy and reserves to get to the mustard flag.
Eating in front of 40,000 people far out weights all negative aspects and pressures it creates. Something about all those people chanting my name in unison, calling for my victory over Joey and Koby was a dream come true. I wore ear plugs blaring Dillinger four on level 11 because all on surf and stillwell pleaded for my victory. At least that’s how it happened in my mind. Victory will happen some day, I wish Joey could take a hint already and give up, he’s never going to finish his doctorate in women’s studies if he continues to compeat.
The most enjoyable part of July 4th is the post contest beers at rubys on the boardwalk. I celebrate the grueling training, reflection of the past eating year, and not ******** myself or throwing up on live television. After a short rest up period we reconvened in my room to watch the rebroadcast. I tracked down $125 dollars worth of pizza and it didn’t stand a chance. The beers flowed like wine in aspen and we re-watched the broadcast working out the kinks of my newly purchased breathalyzer. Joey had a court jester that played pomp and circumstance when he entered and tried to get everyone to kiss his studded mustard belt. The rest of the night can be summed up as lots of cheap pink vodka, 3 gb’s of pictures I have no recollection of and a hybrid version of Russian roulette and spin the bottle; simply a game of swapping germs with the last person using the breathalyzer. I lost this game and awoke nursing a soar throat; apparently wiping it with my shirt wasn’t successful. The last stop was McDonalds where an unthinkable 60 dollars of food was put into Joey’s and my feed bag.
The next day marked a trek to New Haven ct. for world famous pizza at Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s apizza. They are famous for a coal burning oven topped with fresh clams, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. With 2 teams we made quick work of these two landmarks. One got Pepe’s to go and the others waited in line for sally’s. The thought did cross my mind to abandon ship and eat all 3 large Pepe’s pizza by myself, it’s just that good. We reconvened in front of Sallys and sham wowed all the toxins and nitrates from the previous day. Sally’s was saved for the 2 hour trip back. With our hungers curbed and fulfillment in our performances those pizzas shared among dear friends was like a couple of victory cigars. Sally’s and Pepe’s could be the best reason to go to Connecticut.
We wrapped up the night with food and spirits at Joey’s alma mater, hooters. Where we were given permission to steal the Patrick Duffy picture; an early 80’s snapshot of Patrick Duffy at a urinal rocking an oversized cowboy hat and staring down the lens. Ironically enough the night ended at a bar serving free hot dogs and Andrew W.K. as background music. Anytime you can make the trek east and splurge a few weeks pay on food and entertainment jump at the chance. I’ve never spent so much on food in 5 days and it was worth it.
This was from my trip to superior wi at gronks bar. It was a tasty burger, juicy and seasoned. I had 6 half pound patties, buns, cheese and 2 lbs of fries. I'm like an exited 5 year old on christmas eve when it comes to pizza and restaurant challenges. I know that I should wait to let it cool but the exitement overcomes me and I burn my mouth quite frequently when eating huge burgers or a friday pizza or 2. My apologies for the video quality, I should have had someone film it.
This is from last saturdays taco eating contest in crete illinois. i took home the title with 33 tacos in 5 minutes.
This pizza weighed 12 lbs and would have been easier had my throat and stomach not been worn from the sandwich contest earlier in the day. I wore the glasses to stay incongnito and it seemed to work. I like how you can hear the chach that was talking to us and his pointdexter son throughout.
A full 10 minute jimmy johns sandwich contest in detroit. I am posting this one because the commentary by george shea is pretty amazing.
This is video from my intro for the nathans hot dog eating contest on the 4th of july. I finished 3rd with a personal best of 55 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.