A Quarter in the Quarter?

The 2004 Acme World Oyster Eating Championship is fixing to be incredibly exciting with top-ranked gurgitators vying for $1750 in prize money. Oyster Shucking and Tabasco Drinking titles will also be up for grabs when the event takes place in New Orleans, LA on April 17th.

Occurring each year during the French Quarter Festival, the Acme World Oyster Eating Championship is the first of four annual IFOCE major titles. As a result, it is always a hotly contested event drawing top eaters and large crowds.

.This is a place where stars are born,. said Ben Hennington of Acme Oyster House. .We are welcoming some new eaters this year and we expect amazing numbers..

Indeed, the contest is known for introducing new talent to the IFOCE circuit. In 2002 Crazy Legs Conti won his first belt on the Acme stage when he downed 14 dozen Louisiana Oysters in ten minutes. Last year, Boyd Bulot put the hammer down along with 18 dozen Louisiana Oysters to establish a new world record. At last year.s contest fans offered up a goal of 25 dozen with shouts of .A quarter in the quarter..

.This is the year we.ll see north of 20 dozen,. said Ewell Smith of the Louisiana Seafood Promotions and Marketing Board. .The oysters we are harvesting lately are fast oysters -- flavorful and fast -- and I think the numbers are going to increase..

Crazy Legs Conti has confirmed that he will be on hand this year to try and brake the 20 dozen mark. Other registrants include Eric Badlands Booker, Crawfish Nick Stipelcovich and Ken Tittle, a promising newcomer from Georgia that fans are calling .Tender Vittle Tittle..

Also occurring this year will be the first-ever Tabasco Drinking Challenge and the Land Rover Oyster Shucking Competition where the local shucking favorite will be Hollywood, an Acme Oyster House veteran.

The event is presented by Acme Oyster House, the Louisiana Seafood Promotions and Marketing Board, Tabasco Brands, Land Rover, Barq.s Root Beer The French Quarter Festival and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The IFOCE is handling registration and anyone interested in competing in the Acme World Oyster Eating Championship, the Tabasco Drinking Challenge or the Land Rover Oyster Shucking Competition can email