Don't Go Back to Knoxville Don Lerman
However, it was also a source of drama for those who had been following the battle of words between Don Lerman and Patrick Bertoletti. Sadly for the Baby Boomer generation, Lerman was forced to eat a measure of crow along with the 25 Krystals he downed in the eight-minute event.
In short, Bertoletti put his mouth where is mouth is by eating a total of 30 burgers in the event and decisively beating his arch nemesis, who had said in a recent email:
“PAT BERTOLETTI, THIS IS DON ‘MOSES’ LERMAN. DO YOU THINK THAT I’M GOING TO KNOXVILLE TO LOSE TO A NEWCOMER? YOU GOT A LOT TO LEARN. WHEN THAT CONTEST STARTS YOU’RE GOING TO SEE AN EATING FRENZY THE LIKES OF WHICH YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. GOOD LUCK TO YOU PAT BERTOLETTI.” SIGNED DON LERMAN
After Bertoletti responded with equal confidence, the match became personal. Many began to see it as a referendum on the relative talents of two generations of eaters.
The 50-plus Lerman is known as the fastest hands in competitive eating and held numerous titles at the turn of the century. He has long fascinated fans.
At one contest, Lerman startled certain spectators by using the inside of a hot dog bun to dab perspiration from his brow. At another, he used the inside of a hamburger bun as a handkerchief while emptying his nasal passages.
On neither occasion did he feel that the bun was inedible afterward.
For his part, Bertoletti is known to wear a towering Mohawk, a style that appealed to counter-culture music fans in the 1970s and competitive eaters ever since. He has dedicated his life to competitive eating, flying around the nation and improving rapidly.
it is likely that this rivalry will have another chapter.