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10/12/2005 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

I’m moving over this week to make room for this hilarious column by Mark Campbell in the Azel (Tex.) News which pokes fun at competitive eating. The column took first place in the sports column category of the National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest for newspapers with less than 6,000 circulation.
Azel (TX) News
Warning! The highly informative stuff that follows this paragraph contains graphic words like vomit and diarrhea because I’m only going to be able to say "retch" and "hurl" and "gastrointestinal freak-out" and "bowels in an uproar" so many times. So, if those sorts of things bother you, you’d best mosey over to the editorial page and read something political that almost certainly doesn’t involve body functions. Thank you.
We begin: Did you know there is such a thing as the International Federation of Competitive Eating? The IFOCE says it’s "America’s fastest growing sport" and judging from how fat most people are, that sounds about right.
Their official emblem is a guy hunkered over, ralphing into a trash can.
Ha! Not really! It’s actually too difficult to tell what’s on that emblem at; it’s either lions or horses wrapped in some kind of noodles — but the emblem eating record is 46 in two minutes. Well, I made that up (I think), but there are plenty of other records you can marvel at.
You’d think that competitive eating would be the ideal sport for us fatties. Aside from bowling and golf, of course.
But, as you may know, the world record hot dog eater is a non-fattie, a scrawny 132-pound Japanese guy named Takeru Kobayashi (which translates to "hubcap-sized Mylanta").
He holds the world record of 50.5 hot dogs (with buns) eaten in 15 minutes.
He wussed out at last year’s championship on Coney Island by eating just
44.5 dogs.
Watching him eat is pretty nauseating: Kobayashi dips the hot dogs in water before eating them. The thought of all that much bread . . . ugh, what’s grosser than that?
Well this: He also holds the record for consuming cow brains. He ate 57 in
15 minutes. (I don’t know what he dipped the brains in, probably tequila.) In case you didn’t know, 57 cow brains weigh 17.7 pounds.
(We could pontificate here on who originally thought of eating a cow’s brain. How hungry do you have to be?! But then we’d have to get to other animal parts records — like the 3.3 pounds of beef tongue a guy ate in 12 minutes. What does a taste bud taste like?) Other memorable folks are lauded by the IFOCE.
If you’re an older guy seeking an eating hero (for some reason), keep Richard LeFevre in mind. He’s 58 years old and just 135 pounds. He once ate
6 pounds of Spam "from the can" in 12 minutes. LeFevre also wolfed down 1.5 gallons of chili in 10 minutes.
The current rage in competitive eating is shorter contests, 8-12 minutes.
But LeFevre is a "distance man" who excels in 30-45 minute events involving "beef and other heavy foods." Astonishingly, he has a wife; Carlene is — shocking! — also a competitive eater. (She created the "Carlene Pop" which is a bobbing motion that "helps tamp down food" in the stomach.) I’m guessing the LeFevres get few barbecue invites.
You’d think a guy named Cookie Jarvis would hold the Oreo record, but he actually shines in other realms. Checking in at a svelte 409 pounds, he once gulped down one gallon, 9 ounces of vanilla ice cream in 12 minutes.
But I’m more impressed with his mark of 4 pounds of corned beef and cabbage. Surely there’s a fistfight at the plumber’s shop when they hear something’s stopped up at the Jarvis house.
There’s another woman profiled on the Web site. Sonja Thomas was up for the
2003 IFOCE Rookie of the Year. Despite weighing just 105 pounds, she has ingested 5.5 pounds of deep fried asparagus in 10 minutes, 157 chicken wings in 32 minutes, 4 pounds, 14.25 ounces of fruitcake, and 65 hard-boiled eggs in 6:40. Amazingly, she remains single.
But what if you dated her? DENNY’S WAITER: Can I help you? YOU: Get what ever you want, Sonja. SONJA: I’d like 65 hard-boiled eggs.
And do y’all have fruitcake?
YOU: Whoa! I’ll just have 6 pounds of Spam.
It’s hard to say what the most remarkable record is –18 dozen oysters in 10 minutes?? 28 reindeer sausage in 10 minutes (try finding one reindeer sausage these days)?? 33.5 ears of corn in 12 minutes — but my money’s on Donald Lerman.
He ate 6 pounds of baked beans in 1 minute, 48 seconds. Soon after he set another record: The first time in history a brand new Port-a-Potty was simply taken straight to the dump.
I know a little about big eating. I once ate 17 Dreamcicles in one sitting.
But I’m not ready for international competition.
However, maybe you are. Check out the Web site for tournaments. But, sorry, you just missed the pickled quail eggs competition. It was held in Texas last month.
Hey, I made it through this whole column without saying vomit or diarrhea.

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