VICTORY CORNER: EATER X DOWNS JOEY, TALKS BEN’S CHILI BOWL
They are calling it the greatest upset in the history of sports—Tim “Eater X” Janus downed Joey Chestnut, and two gallons of chili, in the Ben’s Chili Bowl’s World Chili Eating Championship. Eater X took first place, tied the world record, and rode a well-appointed bus home to New York City bathed in the glory that comes from victory. Upon his arrival, MLE was there with the tough questions for this installment of Victory Corner.
Tim "Eater X" Janus, the chattering classes are calling your win at the Ben's Chili Bowl's World Chili Eating Championship an upset. How do you see it?
Was it an upset? Absolutely. But it wasn't unimaginable. Joey beats me 95 percent of the time, which is discouraging, and it’s something I'd like to change. But I know that I make him work for his victories, and occasionally I pull off a win. That said, I surprised myself a little bit on Sunday. I generally prefer the longer contests. I didn't expect to knock him off in a six-minute event.
What is more satisfying: An MLE victory or defeating Chestnut, Joseph?
I'd love to be out there winning contests, beating a bunch of schlubs every weekend. People say of rivals, "Oh, but he brings out the best in you." Nonsense. I bring out the best in myself, generally. Would I prefer an easy victory? You bet, because I wouldn't have to worry about the contest beforehand. But when I win, it’s sweeter if I beat somebody great.
One week before this victory, Joey smashed your Tamales-eating World Record in Lewisville, TX. Was revenge a motivator? Did you eat with a blackened heart, Eater X?
I never had revenge on my mind because Joey's a honest competitor. The result was fair and correct; I hadn't been cheated. But I was really disappointed with my effort in Lewisville. I really botched that event, and I've been wishing I could do it over. So when I showed up to the Ben’s Chili Bowl’s World Chili Championships on Sunday, I had it well positioned in my mind that I didn't want to regret my effort a second weekend in a row. I was well-focused in large part because I'd let myself down in Dallas.
Eater X, if this victory could talk, what would it say?
I wish victory would say, "I'm never leaving your side," because I've tasted defeat many times in life. There's no risk that I'll become jaded or insufferable if I go undefeated from here on out in life. To the contrary, I think going undefeated starting right now would make me a better man and a real pleasure to be around always.
What were your keys to victory in the Ben's Chili Bowl discipline?
My key to victory is secret because I want it to be the key to victory next year too.
Cagey. Eater X, last year you finished second, but ate with no face paint. This year, you ate with face paint and finished first. Care to comment?
I've questioned how the face paint affects my eating. Sometimes I think it holds me back because it can be uncomfortable and because some of my best days have come when I haven't put it on. But then something like Sunday happens, and I can't ignore that the face paint was a part of it.
How did you celebrate this victory, Eater X?
I rode a very nice bus back to New York—free wifi, armrests, fake leather seats included. I like the fake leather a lot more than the fuzzy fabrics. It feels and looks cleaner. Of those three main features—the fake leather, the armrests, and the wifi—the fake leather was the best.