Kobayashi Downs 50 Krystals, Sets Stage for Finals

After 11 regional qualifiers, 273 preliminary bouts, 1743 total contestants, and 17,688 of the mouthwatering, cult-craving, two and a half inch, square Famous Krystal hamburger consumed, the final table of the inaugural World Hamburger Eating Championship is now set, and it has shaped up to be a burger battle of epic proportions between top-ranked competitive eaters like Japan's Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi and the lifelong Krystal lovers who took the sensational sport by storm this fall.

Hosted by fast food icon The Krystal Co. and billed as the Krystal Square Off, the 14-competitor 8-minute championship event will take place in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 13.

The Krystal Square Off final has developed into an unprecedented event with amateurs taking five of the 14 coveted spots. Fueled by a lifelong passion for the Famous Krystal, local Krystal customers like Sam "Big Country" Vise of Union City, Tenn. (34 Krystals in 8-minute Memphis qualifier) earned their seats by taking down top ranked eaters from outside Krystal country.

Perhaps the most touted Krystal customer heading into the main event is Matt "The Psycho" Ward of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who gained an automatic entry into the Nov. 13 final when he set the world sprint record in 2003 by putting away an astounding 21 Krystals in just two minutes.

A strong field of the IFOCE’s finest gurgitators is also set to compete in Chattanooga on Nov. 13.

Takeru Kobayashi posted the top number of all qualifiers by taking the Jacksonville final on Nov. 7 with a world record 50 Krystals in eight minutes. The Tsunami's feat bested the previous benchmark established by America's 105 lbs. devouring diva, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, who had held the pole position from the start after downing 42 Krystals in the opening qualifier on Labor Day in Chattanooga.

Strong regional performances were also put up by Rich LeFevre, who ate 38 in the Mobile qualifier, and his wife Carlene, who took the Montgomery qualifier with 28 Krystals. Ed "Cookie" Jarvis won his seat in the championship final in dramatic fashion, tying with local Lynn Curley in Nashville with 33 Krystals. Curley declined a 1-minute eat off.

On the line at the Krystal Square Off finals is the world champion's belt, a champion's crystal trophy and the largest cash purse on the. competitive eating circuit: $17,500-with a $10,000 cash prize going to first place, $5000 to second and $2500 to third. The Krystal Square Off championship will be held at the Hamilton Place Complex (2100 Hamilton Place Blvd.) in Chattanooga.

Pre-championship ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.m., and the 8-minute world championship final will take place during a special half hour live telecast
on Fox and UPN networks throughout the Southeast. Showtime starts at 12:30 p.m., with a pre-contest segment highlighting Krystal's history and outlining the rules of the competition, all leading up to the 8-minute, main event contest.