Gurgitators Gird for Turducken Battle

Rumors ran rampant during the past several weeks as competitive eating fans tried to get a handle on the handicapping of the Thanksgiving Meal Invitational, which this year will feature Turducken, a combo of turkey, duck and chicken provided by

One might think that Cookie Jarvis would be a shoe-in for another major win, but many are pointing to Eric Badlands Booker, last year.s champion, and to diminutive rookie Sonya Thomas, who has beaten both Booker and Jarvis this year. Jarvis, however, cannot be counted out . the number-two-ranked eater has dominated the American eating scene this year.

The Thanksgiving Meal Invitational, to take place on Wednesday, November 26, at 11 am at Mickey Mantle.s Restaurant on Central Park South in Manhattan, will run 12 minutes, during which eaters will consume as many one-pound plates of Turducken and sides as possible.

Another eater to watch: Rich LeFevre of Henderson, Nevada. Rich likes a heavy meal and comes into this event hungry. He has been stymied in recent matches (some say uneven officiating cost him a second-place finish in pasta) and he wants a victory to show his strength. Hungry Charles Hardy also has finished in the top three in several recent championships. Can he elbow his way to the top at this event?

Back in the game is Carlene Lefevre, who returns to the table after a five-month hiatus from competition. Carlene is bound to be rusty, but she is known as a giant-killer and the eaters, including big-screen star Crazy Legs Conti, are taking her seriously. Marie .Chang Saw. Chang, a newcomer who qualified by finishing second in the ICS chili eating contest, will try her hand at Turducken.