$20,000 at World Grilled Cheese-Eating Championship

The nation’s top competitive eaters – including 100-pound Sonya Thomas, newcomer Joey Chestnut and surging rookie Patrick Bertoletti -- will meet in Manhattan to compete for $20,000 in total prizes at the World Grilled Cheese-Eating Championship.

The contest, which takes place on the eve of America’s greatest food holiday, the Super Bowl, will be held at Planet Hollywood at the corner of 45th Street and Broadway in Manhattan at 11 am on Wednesday, February 1, 2006.

Among the eating greats who have qualified for the championship are top-ranked Sonya Thomas of Virginia, Joey Chestnut of California, Cookie Jarvis of Long Island, Tim Janus of New York, Bob Shoudt of Pennsylvania, Hall Hunt of Florida, Ron Koch of Las Vegas, Richard LeFevre of Las Vegas, Patrick Bertoletti of Illinois and Badlands Booker of New York, Crazy Legs Conti of New York, Leland Collins and Walter Hamilton.

The current world record belongs to Joey Chestnut, who devoured 32 1/2 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes at the Arizona qualifier. However, many believe Thomas comes in as the top-seed; she holds numerous world records including 46 dozen Louisiana oysters in 10 minutes, 11 lbs. of cheesecake in nine minutes, 48 chicken tacos in 11 minutes, 37 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, and 56 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes.

Fans are welcome to attend and those who arrive early may be treated to an exciting undercard featuring Brian Seiken. It is not certain yet, but it could happen.