Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Steakbellie Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple

Yesterday blog worlds briefly collided, as an invite from Steakbellie had me witness to the TripRewards Ultimate Hot Wing Eating Championship held in NYC's Grand Central Terminal. The event was hosted by Kenan Thompson of "Saturday Night Live" and Nickelodeon's "All That." Kenan, whose participation added much to the proceedings, is a humble and friendly guy - indulging an awestruck fan for a picture and a hearty handclasp.

Security was tight, as would befit such a spectacle. The massed throngs crowding Vanderbilt Hall, continually on the verge of hysteria, somehow maintained a humane dignity during the course of the contest. A fearsome and humorless guard was given responsibility for maintaining order, stationed adjacent to a symbolic tray of hot wings.

This event attracted seven luminaries of the world of competitive eating: In addition to Steakbellie, who holds the 39th slot in the worldwide rankings of competitive eaters, the participants included: Crazy Legs Conti (pictured in furry hat - and ranked #11), Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas (ranked #4), Joey "JAWS" Chestnut (ranked #2), Tim "Eater X" Janus (ranked #7, and roommate of Crazy Legs Conti - according to the press handout), Steakbellie's pal Micah "Wing Kong" Collins (ranked #43), and the 20-year-old "rookie upstart from Philadelphia" Pete Miernicki.

Lest you think this is all fun and games, let me assure you: these competitors take their eating very seriously. Witness Steakbellie's meditative state (left) as he gets into the competitive eating zone, focusing all his energy on the task soon to be at hand. I was able to meet him very briefly before the eating commenced, but I was careful to not intrude on his pre-food meditation. Clearly, much preparation goes into these events, to say nothing of the careful accessorizing of outfits and choice of accoutrements.

Once the carnage is over, a relieved group of participants surveys the damage from the stage, formulating plans for the next big eat off (left to right: Steakbellie, Wing Kong and Eater X).

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Blogger EEK! said...

Wow, you totally win best week ever.

12:17 AM  
Blogger richard lopez said...

holy shit! is it for the money or the glory. nearly lost my dinner reading this, since i just had a huge motherfucking piece of carrot cake for dessert and it is sitting in me belly like an anvil dropped on wile e coyote's head.

1:18 AM  
Blogger MsAPhillips said...

Magnificent Apologies to John Sturges

And they ate
chicken wings
like seven hundred.

7:06 AM  
Blogger steakbellie said...

I was so happy you were able to make it! I was a last minute entry and couldnt advertise on my blog about it because I was supposed to be elsewhere. I meant to invite more New Yorkers but I just ran out of time and then wound up drunk somewhere in lower Manhattan.

You got to see acouple of the very best, and a few of the pretty good. I'm not very happy with my performance, but even if I hit the number I wanted I still would have been 6th!

That was a nicely packaged event, with a boom camera and everything! Other contests are more hectic, especially the ones that are in front of larger crowds and not for TV promotions.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I am not so impressed with competative eating as a sport and thus I have made a clear blog on it on my site, but it sounds like you had a good time.

11:20 AM  

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