Eating’s Greatest Challenge?

The contest will begin at 1 p.m. in Las Vegas when 12 peristaltic patriots sit down at the table to tackle the monster burger. No one knows how long the contest will take. Some have speculated that either Sonya Thomas or Rich LeFevre will finish the burger in 30 minutes. Others say that no one will finish and that the contest’s hour-long time limit will kick in, prompting officials to weigh uneaten remains to determine who consumed the most. Either way, it will be a great day in gurgitation at the Plaza Hotel and Casino.

A total of $9,000 in prize money is on the line: $3,250 for first place; $1,500 for second place; $1,250 for third place; $1,000 for fourth place; $800 for fifth place, $700 for sixth place; and $500 for seventh. A contest for amateur eaters will include $1,000 in prize money.

Among those scheduled to compete: Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, VA, the #1 ranked eater in America; Rich LeFevre, a local Henderson, NV, resident and the #3 ranked eater in the entire world; Carlene LeFevre, Henderson, NV; Bob Shoudt, Philadelphia, PA; Jason Kokoszka, Ft. Benning, GA; Charles Hardy, Brooklyn, NY; Oleg Zhornitskiy, Brooklyn, NY; Ron Koch, Las Vegas, NV; Brian Subich, Johnstown, PA; Eric Booker, Copiague, NY; Dale Boone, Atlanta GA; Kevin Lipsitz, Staten Island, NY; and Frank Wach.

IFOCE President Richard Shea said: “The Barrick Burger is among the most challenging foods in the history of competitive eating. This will be a monumental struggle that pits human against burger – and the honor of our species hangs in the balance.”

“The rule at the Plaza is ‘the bigger, the better,’” said Phil Flaherty, COO of Barrick Gaming. “So we are working with the IFOCE to put together the most outrageous and spectacular eating event the public has ever seen.”

The Plaza Hotel and Casino, a spectacular Las Vegas destination, will provide lodging for all eaters. The Plaza Hotel & Casino ( was purchased, along with the Vegas Club, Western and Gold Spike Hotel & Casinos, by Barrick Gaming ( in March 2004 as the first step in the company’s vision to redevelop much of downtown Las Vegas. The Plaza, Barrick’s flagship property, offers an array of classic and innovative table games and slot machines, downtown’s premiere gourmet restaurant; the glass-domed Center Stage, dynamic entertainment and sporting events and an array of amenities. Guests may call (702) 386-2110 or (800) 634-6575 for more information and/or hotel reservations.

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