Jarvis Takes Eating Contest

Cookie Jarvis advanced a winning season by eating 19 grilled cheese sandwiches in Little Rock, Arkansas, to beat a field of 15 gurgitators and earn the title of Grilled Cheese Eating Champion of Arkansas and Environs.

Jarvis edged out Pat Philban, who consumed 17 grilled cheese sandwiches in the 10-minute contest to place second. Philbin, whom many expected to win, may have been distracted by a political snub from the Little Rock Mayor's Office.

Philbin had hoped to use his visit to Arkansas to establish a "sister city" relationship between Little Rock and Moonachie, NJ, the city he calls home. Philbin believed the relationship would enable to two cities to leverage the popularity of competitive eating to generate economic and cultural activity.

Inquiries to the Little Rock mayor's office went unanswered, however. IFOCE chair George Shea, who represented Philbin in the initiative, said lack of political clout may have doomed the plan.

"I explained Philbin's goal in a lengthy voicemail to the director of sister city relationships, but no reply was forthcoming," shea said. "I fear they felt Philbin was unauthorized to establish this kind of relationship."

Indeed, Philbin had not mentioned his plan to Moonachie officials and he has been unable to fully articulate the way economic cross-polination would occur.

Meanwhile, third place at the contest went to local eater Mike Fanell, who ate 10 grilled cheese sandwiches. Fanell tied with Christopher Talton in regulation and consumed 1 1/2 gc sandwiches in overtime to place in the money.

Jarvis took home $1,000 and put himself in the hunt for a portion of the $20,000 championship pot. Philbin earned $500 and Fanell $250.