Friday, July 29, 2005

Holy Cheese Fries, Fat Man

If you've been living under a rock the last few days, you might not be aware that the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating is going on in Las Vegas, NV. Actually, I believe this event might already be over, but it is being broadcast on ESPN from July 28-30. The event, appropriately sponsored by Alka-Seltzer, is being held at the ESPN Zone in Sin City.

The Open consists of 5 rounds. Competitors are seeded much like in the NCAA basketball tournament. Then they compete against each other in head-to-head matches. The competitor who eats the most food in a set time period moves on to the next round. Each round has a different type of food. Some rounds require utensils. Some do not.

The first round was cheese fries. Each plate contained 2 pounds of the greesy goodness. The matches lasted 5 minutes. Several competitors polished off two full plates. Hot dog king, Takeru Kobayashi, is the top seed in the Open, and was the class of the first round. Although utensils were not required, Kobayashi used an innovative two fork method. He gripped both forks in one hand, creating a large shovel that allowed him to jam fries into his mouth at an alarming rate.

Kobayashi at Coney Island over the Fourth of July (AP)

Round 2 was spaghetti. Utensils were required for this food, and the rounds were 14 minutes long. The world record for pasta fell 4 times in the course of this round. Kobayashi ate last and was the holder of the record at the end of the night. The most entertaining match from the first two rounds was undoubtedly the match between bitter rivals, Timothy Janus and Dale Boone. Janus is known as Eater X and wears WWF-style makeup. Dale Boone claims to be a descendant of Daniel Boone and wears a coonskin cap in competition.


Eater X was victorious.

To learn more about the various eaters on the competitive eating circuit, follow this link to the International Federation of Competitive Eating.