KRAZY KEVIN, 1997 -- 2007
During his career with the IFOCE, Krazy Kevin competed against such greats as Ed Krachie, Mike DeVito, Hirofumi Nakajima, Kazutoyo Arai, Ed Cioffi, Takeru Kobayashi, Badlands Booker, Hungry Charles and Joey Chestnut. If not for the presence of these top-flight eaters, his second place finishes might well have been firsts. As one of the “three amigos,” he’ll forever be aligned with Ed Cookie Jarvis and Don Moses Lerman – two greats who have also retired in the past year.
Amazingly, Krazy Kev competed in seven straight Nathan’s Famous July Fourth Contests. He’s a fixture in Coney and his image will forever grace the Wall of Fame. What Kevin may savor the most, however, is his pickle prowess. Krazy Kevin was and is an incredible pickle eater. His pickle rivalry with Beautiful Brian was vicious and is burned in competitive eating history and recorded in books and on film.
A dynamic cross-eater that often trained with his dogs, Sabrina and Lynn, Lipsitz was a distance eater in an era that focused on the short game. After clamoring for years for an interspecies dog-man contest that never became reality, Lipsitz resigned himself to mimicking their chewing styles. It was a style that, in direct contradiction to the tenets of Kobayashi’s mandate, focused on chewing over swallowing. His take-no-prisoners chewing technique led to such totals as 4 pounds of escarole in 8 minutes, 13.5 Nathan’s HDBs in 12 minutes, and 3 pounds of corned beef & cabbage in 10 minutes.
To this day, Lipsitz has never disclosed his favorite food, even to family members.
For the past six years, there has been a heated debate on the circuit as to how Kevin Lipsitz received the moniker "Krazy." Some bloggers in the CE community have speculated that it relates to his reckless biting style. Others have said that, in the heat of battle, his eyes widened into a sort of rabid Braveheart-like popeyed glaze. Others maintain that the nickname is just a funky take on the English word-"crazy."
Kevin often says his most shining moment was at the Glutton Bowl. When asked why, he’ll doubtless reply that it’s where he and his wife Lorraine first competed. Kevin ate eggs; Lorraine ate butter. They both wore interesting hats and embraced their fellow eaters. Through eating and his professional career in publishing, Krazy Kevin has met Rudy Giuliani, Jay Leno, Curtis Sliwa, Sally Jesse Raphael, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Boomer Esiason and Larry Hoff.
A graduate of Cornell University, Krazy Kev is a man of many pursuits. He owns a magazine subscription enterprise. He’s a pet lover and a pet advocate. He’s an avid traveler who once drove from Staten Island to Boca Raton to compete in a Nathan’s qualifier. The minute the qualifier ended he and his dogs hopped back in the car and drove to Atlanta where a qualifier was occurring the very next day. West coast eating fans fondly recall the day that, at a Nathan’s Famous qualifier in Los Angeles, a faceless man in an extravagant umbrella hat approached the Nathan’s on West Peko Blvd. As the form approached it became clear that under that hat walked Lipsitz. Los Angeles fans hadn’t cheered that loudly since Kirk Gibson hit the home run heard 'round the globe.
An over-sized personality who is as comfortable in a fuzzy dog baseball cap as he is a business suit, Lipsitz is considered a precursor to contemporary eaters (‘poseurs’) like Crazy Legs Conti and Hall Hunt.
Krazy Kevin is also an accomplished spelunker. Although, to this day, he prefers the term ‘caver.’ Once, early in his eating career, Kevin got caught in a cave miles within the earth’s core and became stuck in a tight area called “the mail slot.” At the time he was concerned the situation was due to an extra inch or so around his waste. He credited the bulk to his affection for eating. He seriously considered quitting the sport of competitive eating. Of course, he figured out a way to eat and cave at the same time.
The first man to ever commission a complete circumnavigation of Staten Island (and make it a party to boot), Krazy Kevin’s contribution to the world of professional eating is like the Indian’s contribution to the Pilgrims. “Sustenance, life, an honest meal and a smile.”
Krazy Kevin, you will be missed on the circuit, but everyone expects to see you each year in Coney. At very least you better show up on July 4, 2008 to pick up a lifetime achievement award that reads “Krazy Kevin Lipsitz!”