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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Hooters Wing Championship Draws Heavy Hitters To Clearwater [Jaws, The Black Widow, Wing Kong]

Posted Jul 22, 2012 by Jeff Houck

Updated Jul 22, 2012 at 09:35 AM


The competitors for this Thursday’s Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship in Clearwater have been announced.

Apparently, 15,000 grand in prize money pulls out the talent. The roster looks like the Murderer’s Row of competitive eating:

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, San Jose, Calif.

Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, Alexandria, Va. (pictured above)

Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, Chicago, Ill.

Bob “Notorious B.O.B.” Shoudt, Royersford, Pa.

“Lovely” Juliet Lee, Germantown, Md.

Adrian “The Rabbit” Morgan, Baton Rouge, La.

Erik “The Red” Denmark, Seattle, Wash.

Tim “Gravy” Brown, Chicago, Ill.

Micah “Wing Kong” Collins, Drexel Hill, PA

Nasty” Nate Biller, Wichita Falls, Texas

Crazy Legs Conti, New York, N.Y.

Lewis Richards, London, England

The big guns here are obviously Chestnut and Thomas, who have racked up crazy records swallowing everything from hot dogs to jalapenos.

I know, sadly, very little about the genre. But upon looking at this list of gastro athletes, I have to say I have little confidence that Lewis Richards will win, mostly because that he is the only person who lacks a nickname.

Some bio info:

Weiner Wars Hot Dog Champ

Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., is the number-one ranked world champion eater and reigning six-time July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Champion, but he has been badly beaten twice in chicken wings by Thomas of Alexandria, VA, a wing-specialist who weighs only 100 pounds. In Clearwater, they will battle cheek-to-jowl alongside nearly a dozen other top-ranked Major League Eaters from around the nation and the United Kingdom in the 10-minute all-you-can-eat championship.

“Chicken wing eating is among the most demanding and elegant disciplines in the world of sport. Sonya Thomas, with her lithe frame, dexterity and grace, was born for it and has repeatedly outmaneuvered Joey and other top competitors who are three times her size,” said George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating. “However, Joey is hot off his July 4th win and looking to take down ‘The Black Widow.’”

Joining Chestnut and Thomas at the table will be #2-ranked Major League Eater, Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti of Chicago, who holds 39 world records (the most of any eater in history) and seeks to add chicken wings to his long list of titles. Bob “Notorious B.O.B” Shoudt, the fifth-ranked eater in the world from Pennsylvania and “Lovely” Juliet Lee, Thomas’ top female rival and a petite mother of two from Germantown, Md. will also compete.

Event Info:


Hooters Wing-Eating World Championship


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Hooters Clearwater
2800 Gulf-To-Bay Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33755      

7:00 PM (pre-contest entertainment begins at 6:00 PM)

And now, a gratuitous photo of chicken wings:

Hooters Renovation

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