The Poutine-Scented Brotherhood of Chestnut And Bertoletti
TWO MOUTHS. ONE HEART. A ROAD TRIP TO UNDERSTANDING
The history books shall record who ate what and who finished where in the drab gray of numbers. They will say that Joey Chestnut, world #1, ate 19 half-pound boxes of Smoke's Poutinerie Poutine to win the 3rd Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship. That Tim "Eater X" Janus and Bob "The Notorious BOB" Shoudt tied for second with 17. That Patrick Bertolettióback-to-back winner in 2010 and 2011ócame fourth. That others distinguished themselves with less brilliance.
What the history books won't tell you about is the brotherhood. The pride. The love.
So before the ink dries and the book is closed on the Smoke's Poutinerie 3rd Annual World Poutine Eating Championship, let's inscribe into the Internet what really happened at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto on October 13, 2012. The numbers, at least on this date, took a back seat to something far bigger.
Thursday's word from Chicago was cruel and succinct: Defending Champ Bertoletti would not be in Toronto to defend his World Poutine Eating title. A bicycle. Late night. Skidding tires. A broken knee. A full-leg cast. No flying, doctor's orders.
Friday's word from San Jose was warm and insane: World #1 Joey Chestnut would fly from his west coast eating combat center to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, rent a van, pick up Patrick and drive him to Toronto. In Joey's words, a Champion has the right to defend his title. Patrick had to be there. QED.
Father Time, ever the eater's enemy, laughed at the plot. A 0530 arrival into Chicago, a pick up, a cripple, a border crossing, a 1600 kickoff in a foreign city. With trams. And rain. But no jay-walking. No chance.
The duo made excellent time through the US, crossing the Detroit-Windsor border ahead of schedule. The information was relayed to contest organizers: We're going to make it. Believe in us. Canadian roads were less forgiving; Canadian motorists' predilection for obeying speed limits was not applied to the ETA math.
Past Ingersoll. Past the Kitchener exit. Mississauga now in the rear view. The clock read 3.50pm. The signs read 29km. What's a kilometre, asked our American duo? Into Toronto. Straight to the venue. Car ditched into the hands of a God-sent valet attendant and a quick hobble onto the stage, the MLE emcee's introductions already well underway.
And they ate. And they ate well. And the results are below if numbers still stir your heart. But what the crowd of thousands left Yonge-Dundas Square with on this date was bigger. Chestnut. Bertoletti. Ever the bitter rivals. Chestnut, tweets Bertoletti, is a bore. Bertoletti, says Chestnut to any and all media, lacks the mental edge to challenge him in sanctioned competition. Today, that mattered not. What mattered was that two MLE foes came together to do what is right: To compete when competition calls.
This was the hour when glory called the bravest by name. Chestnut and Bertoletti answered.
1st - Joey Chestnut, 19 half-pound boxes; $2,000, plus first-place trophy
2nd - Eater X, 17 boxes; $900, plus second-place medal
2nd - BOB, 17 boxes; $900, plus second-place medal
4th - Patrick Bertoletti, 16.75 boxes; $600
5th - Matthew Bonanno, 13.75 boxes; $400
6th - Meredith Boxberger, 11.33 boxes; $200
7th - Buffalo Jim, 11 boxes
7th - Wing Kong, 11 boxes
7th - Yasir Salem, 11 boxes
7th - Ben Do, 11 boxes
11th - Larell Marie Mele, 10.5 boxes
12th - The Bear Kogutkiewicz, 7.25 boxes
13th - Maria Edible, 7 boxes
14th - Wild Bill, 5.75 boxes
15th - Mary Bowers, 5 boxes