2005 Krystal Square Off Goes Down to Wire

As the drama built, the crowd of more than 2,000 appeared torn between cheering for a rising American hero or for the world's most celebrated eating athlete.

Chestnut and Kobayashi battled back and forth as the contest advanced, and handicappers were astounded that Chestnut maintained a two- to four-burger lead. However, with 57 seconds left in the contest Chestnut appeared to stop eating altogether. He revelaed later that he had failed to dunk one of the burgers, slowing the eating process.

With 37 seconds left in the contest Chestnut again picked up the pace. But it was too late. The pause had allowed Kobayashi to take the lead, which he expanded in the final seconds. Kobayashi ended with 67 Krystals, two fewer than his world record, and Chestnut posted a personal best of 62.

Sonya Thomas consumed 62 Krystals to finish third.

Bob Shoudt shocked the eating world by eating 51 Krystals in the contest to place fourth. IFOCE commissioner Charles Hardy, who was positioned near Shoudt, repeatedly alerted judges and media to shoudt's numbers, waving his hands wildly to call attention to the unexpected accomplishment.

The top eaters of the famous hot, small, square Krystal Hamburger walked away with significant cash prizes at the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship. Fast food icon Krystal boosted the total cash purse for this year’s event to a colossal $22,500, an increase from last year’s previously unrivaled $17,500.

The 2005 winner received a $10,000 cash prize along with the coveted Krystal Square Off World Champion’s Belt and the champion’s crystal trophy. The runner-up and third place finishers will also once again take home sizeable paychecks of $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, but new this year will be a full-field payout, with all 15 contenders in this year’s main event receiving a cash prize. On the line for the remaining finalists are the following payouts: 4th - $1,250; 5th - $1,000; 6th - $750; 7th - $500; 8th - $400; 9th - $300; 10th and 11th - $200; and 12th thru 15th - $100.

“In its inaugural year, the Krystal Square Off was instantly hailed as one of the majors in the sport and we matched the excitement by offering what was the largest cash purse in competitive eating. For 2005, we’re going even bigger, awarding every single one of our finalists a share of the $22,500 prize pool,” said Mike Williams, vice president of marketing, The Krystal Company.

Eaters were celebrated during their time in Chattanooga, staying at the luxury Read House downtown courtesy of Krystal Company and arriving at the contest in stretch limos. Fans crowded the eaters, seeking pictures and autographs, and many sought simply to shake their hands.

The 2005 Championship line up included:

·Takeru Kobayashi - Ate 69 Krystals in 8 Min., World Record Holder, 2004 Champion

·Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, VA – Ate 57 Krystals in 8 Min. in Chattanooga, TN

·Eric Booker of Long Island, NY – Ate 44 Krystals in 8 Min. in Nashville, TN

·Tim Janus of New York, NY – Ate 39 Krystals in 8 Min. in Atlanta, GA

·Sam Vise of Union City, TN – Ate 33 Krystals in 8 Min. in Memphis, TN

·Richard LeFevre of Las Vegas, NV – Ate 35 Krystals in 8 Min. in Dallas, TX

·Bob Shoudt of Royersford, PA – Ate 29 Krystals in 8 Min. in Perry, GA

·Jim Reeves of Boston, NY – Ate 27 Krystals in 8 Min. in Jackson, MS

·Chip Simpson of Harrisville, PA – Ate 32 Krystals in 8 Min. in Birmingham, AL

·Ron Koch of Las Vegas, NV – Ate 36 Krystals in 8 Min. in Savannah, GA

·Crazy Legs Conti of New York, NY – 31 Krystals in 8 Min. in Jacksonville, FL

·Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago, IL - Ate 30 Krystal in 8 Min. in Knoxville, TN

·Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA - Ate 56 Krystals in 8 Min., Wildcard

·Loren Yarbrough of Newnan, GA - Ate 30 Krystals in 8 MIn., Wildcard

·Hall Hunt of Gainesville, FL - Ate 30 Krystals in 8 Min., Wildcard

The Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship is the first and only hamburger eating world championship sanctioned by the IFOCE.

For additional information on the 2005 Krystal Square Off visit

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