Krystal Square Off to Deliver $22,500

The top eaters of the famous hot, small, square Krystal Hamburger will walk away with some serious cold, hard cash at the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship, which begins its qualifying circuit this Labor Day and culminates with the main event on Nov. 19 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Announced today, fast food icon Krystal has 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.

Like 2004’s inaugural championship, which was won by the world’s number one-ranked eater Takeru Kobayashi (69 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes), the winner this year will receive a $10,000 cash prize along with the coveted Krystal Square Off World Champion’s Belt and the Champion’s Trophy made out of crystal. 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.

The Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship is the first and only hamburger eating world championship sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), the governing body for all stomach-centric sports and the organization that has transformed gustatory battles into a worldwide craze.

The road to the final table starts this Labor Day in Chattanooga with the first of 11 regional qualifiers, and the competition will be fierce from the start as the number-two-ranked eater, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas of Alexandria, Va., is expected to be among the competitors at the Chattanooga qualifier. From there, the circuit will criss-cross six states, from Texas to Florida, pitting all of the world’s best competitive eaters against the lifelong Krystal fans who took the sensational sport by storm last fall. Winners of the qualifiers will earn a seat at the final table of the world championship event on Nov. 19, and will be competing for their share of one of the largest cash purses ever offered on the U.S. competitive eating circuit.

“Just as it is for the indomitable Lance Armstrong and the always-masterful Tiger Woods, the greats of competitive eating are driven by the thrill of the competition, the unrelenting quest to be the best, and a pure love for the sport. But it never hurts when there’s also some cold, hard cash on the line,” said Dave Baer, IFOCE. “With the payouts this year, especially for the top 5 places, we expect one of the fiercest contests in IFOCE history.”

Krystal’s Mike Williams added, “Not everyone has a chance to ride alongside Armstrong at the Tour de France or tee off at the British Open with Tiger Woods, but at the Krystal Square Off, lifelong fans of the Krystal hamburger, who pride themselves on their ability to put them away by the sackful, can stand should-to-shoulder on the same stage with the best in the world and perhaps walk away with a share of the money, or maybe even a champion.”

Individuals interested in competing in the 2005 Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship can find the most up-to-date information at As an officially sanctioned IFOCE event, all registration for the qualifying contests will be handled by the IFOCE through the Krystal website. Participants must be 18 years or over.