Top 10 Moments in Competitive Eating in 2013
10. Katz’s Delicatessen Trophy Wins Best Trophy
No offense to the oversized novelty check, but the trophy awarded to Joey Chestnut for his winning performance at the first-ever Katz's Delicatessen World Pastrami Eating Championship takes the gold. Literally. Well, maybe. Chestnut ate 25 7oz Katz’s pastrami sandwiches for the win and was granted a giant gold-plated Katz’s pastrami sandwich trophy—and $3,750—for his efforts. He was able to lift the trophy high and with ease, which means the trophy was either not made of real gold or that Chestnut’s victory afforded him superhuman strength. Maybe both.
9. Will Bill Takes FroYo Silver
We talk often of Chestnut, Stonie and many more of MLE’s leading lights. In this regard, we are akin to NFL pundits speaking at length of Peyton Manning, or squash broadcasters hailing the feats of Pakistan's Jahangir Khan. But it is true that more attention should be given to our sport’s journeymen and journeywomen. The arrive-on-timers. The drive-all-nighters. The peoples’ eaters. Let’s do that now. Wild Bill Myers ate 8 pounds of Yogurtland FroYo at the Yogurtland Frozen Yogurt Eating Challenge at Boston’s Phantom Gourmet Festival to finish second behind Matthew Stonie. In doing so he proved that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, for Wild Bill is a large man, but how much FroYo that dog can eat.
8. Sudo Logs First Career Win at RibFest Chicago
Remember the date: June 7, 2013. On this date, Miki Sudo won her first MLE Championship event—Ribfest Chicago's Ribmania Eating Championship. She ate 2.9lb of ribs in six minutes to edge Michelle Lesco and Joey Chestnut. She would again prevail in Chicago two months later at The Chowdown in Korea Town World Kimchi Eating Championship by eating 8.5lb of kimchi in six minutes. But you always remember your first. So should the world.
7. Rain Can Not Save The Eggs
It rains in Ratcliff, KY, and it rained at the inaugural Ratcliff Days World Hard-Boiled Egg Eating Championship. It rained a lot. Downwards. Sideways. Onto contestants, the crowd, even the eggs. MLE’s best would not be deterred. Joey Chestnut set a new WR with 141 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes. Other totals also impressed mightily: Stonie, 132; Sudo, 109; Thomas 92.
6. MLE Eaters Shiver in St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Freeze
A game time temperature in the teens (wind-chill adjusted) did not—could not—stop Joey Chestnut at The World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail-Eating Championship, Located At The Meijer Tail Greater Party On Georgia St. In eight minutes, he set the inaugural world shrimp cocktail-eating record with a total of 9.25 pounds of St. Elmo’s signature, and very horseradishy, dish. The event is claim to two MLE records: It was both the coldest ever and has the longest event title of any event in MLE history.
5. Lesco Becomes First Woman To Defeat Sonya Thomas
It was a banner year for Tucson, AZ’s Michelle Lesco—a year in which she defeated some of the greats of our sport and saw herself make MLE’s top-10 for the first time. Bravo. She also made history by becoming the first woman to defeat Sonya Thomas in sanctioned competition. Ever. Before Lesco’s win, Thomas was undefeated against her sex for, like, 38 years. Lesco ate 16.5 Creek Indian tacos at the Foodabluza Creek Indian Taco Eating Championship in Atmore, AL, to Thomas’s 15.
4. Stonie Dominates In Day-Lee Foods Gyoza
Of Matthew Stonie’s three head-to-head wins against Joey Chestnut in 2013, none were sweeter than his victory at the Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship. Stonie ate 268 Day-Lee Foods gyoza to Chestnut’s 251 to set a new world record in an event he has focused on since his MLE debut in 2011. (Stonie also defeated Chestnut in the asparagus and slugburger disciplines in 2013.) Those who caught a glimpse of Stonie’s countenance after his 2013 Gyoza win know what happiness and contentment truly mean.
3. The Women of MLE Claim Buffalo
On September 1, 2013, MLE’s female athletes went one, two and three for the first time in major competition at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. Miki Sudo won with 178 wings in 12 minutes; Michelle Lesco ate 158 wings for second and former champion Sonya Thomas placed third with 141. None of them, to MLE’s knowledge, even owns a Helen Reddy record. Their fire comes from within.
2. Miss Hooters International Steals Hearts, Chestnut Eats Wings
The women of Hooters are known around the world for their supreme beauty and talent. The wings of Hooters are known around the world for their unparalleled juiciness and bold flavor. Both were on show at the Hooters World Wing Eating Championship at the original Hooters in Clearwater, FL. Representing the ladies of Hooters, Miss Marissa Raisor, Miss Hooters International herself, was on hand to lend the event a regal air. Her good looks and grace caused those in attendance to pause, as if they had seen beauty itself come to life in human form. Joey Chestnut ate 179 Hooters wings for the win in a manner less elegant than Miss Raisor.
1. Emperor Chestnut Enters The Arena
He wore no toga; this ruler wears a 2XL T-shirt made of cotton. He wore no laurel wreath for a crown; this leader prefers to let his brown locks waft free in the seaside air of Coney Island. He ruled not over an empire that stretched from the Barbary Coast to the Indus Valley; this king presides over the known world. You see where we’re going with this, if perhaps too far: Joey “Jaws” Chestnut entered the arena at Coney Island on July 4, 2013, like a Roman emperor, held aloft by strong men who dared not waiver under his command. In those moments, the sun shone down on him and him alone. A man floating above all others. A man God. The greatest eater of all time. The one. Then he ate 69 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns to set a new world record, lest anyone doubt his omnipotence.