Nearly 20,000 competitive eating fans packed Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center for WIP Radio’s 14th Annual Wing Bowl. This year’s contest was unique in that WIP elected to only allow entry to gurgitators who’d never competed in a Wing Bowl before.

While that kept names like El Wingador, Badlands Booker and Sonya Thomas away, it encouraged a number of other IFOCE talents to make the trip. Rookie sensation Joey Chestnut led all eaters, setting a new Wing Bowl record with a total of 173 wings eaten in 30 minutes.

Veteran IFOCE superstar Rich LeFevre of Henderson, NV trailed Chestnut by approximately a dozen wings to come in second place and took home a 4-night trip for two to Cancun or Punta Cana where he will stay at Iberostar Resorts & Hotels. The Locust will also receive a medallion from Steven Singer Jewelers in Philadelphia.

Joey Chestnut, who won $4,000 on Wednesday by taking second place at the World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship, won the Wing Bowl’s top prize, a 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara S model, valued at $20594. He also won a Wing Bowl 14 ring from Steven Singer Jewelers valued at $5,500.

In a span of three days, IFOCE eaters have won cash and prizes totaling well over $40,000.

As always, Wing Bowl -- created by Al Morganti and Angelo Cataldi -- was an extraordinary platform for the sport.

While the other eaters at the Wing Bowl put in a worthy effort, they were not in the same class as the IFOCE eaters. In fact, third, fourth and fifth places trailed the winners by 50 wings or more. Some of the unproven eaters showed promise, however, and given the right environment they might blossom into real eaters.