PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—It carried the pageantry of a heavyweight championship fight weigh-in. Only that the heavyweights kept coming, and coming, and coming Thursday night in South Philadelphia’s Chickie and Pete’s for the 19th annual 610WIP Wing Bowl. Everyone was shaped differently. Wearing various garb. Some barely wearing anything.
With each eater that sat on the scale more suited for live stock than humans, world-class eater Takeru Kobayashi wore a curious look. The Japanese world-record holder never saw anything like it—and this was just behemoths weighing in for the main event Friday morning at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Kobayashi said, through his interpreter, Maggie. “I think from the eating I’ve seen already to get into this competition, this is going to be the craziest event I’ve ever been to. It’s WWA for me—wings, women and alcohol. I’ve been involved in eating competitions all over the world and nine of them ever demonstrated women and alcohol like this event. I can’t wait to see it.”
What adds to the intensity of this Wing Bowl is that it will pit a young lion, two-time defending champion Jon “Super” Squibb and eating legend Bill “El Wingador” Simmons, a five-time Wing Bowl champion coming back from a temporary two-year sabbatical from the contest.
“I expect to win,” said Squibb, a 2-to-1 favorite and an accountant with a graduate degree who weighed in at a rather svelte 245 pounds. “I respect Bill a great deal; Bill’s helped me out a lot. This is the first time I’ve actually ate head-to-head against Bill. I’ve gone against some of his eating records. It’s why I started the eating process a little earlier and I expect to carry the experience of winning the last two years again in this one.
“This is my Super Bowl.”
If it’s Squibb’s Super Bowl, it’s Simmons comeback song. He’s pushing 50, and he wanted to treat his four-year son to a rare treat of watching dad do something before 20,000 screaming maniacs.
“This is really all new to me,” said Simmons, a 3-to-1 favorite whose name hangs on a banner from the Wells Fargo rafters for his legendary eating stunts. “I’m going against all these young guys and they’re going to see the old Wingador face. Squibb’s still the champ. I won five times and Jon’s won the last two. He’s still the two-time champ, and you’re not the champ unless you beat the champ.”
Watch out for Pete Czerwinski, who came down from Toronto, Canada to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in 12 minutes to qualify for Wing Bowl 19, and he’s in the Guinness World Records for pounding down a 72-ounce in 6:48. “Furious Pete” has competing in eating contests before, but nothing on the magnitude of Wing Bowl.
“I heard Wing Bowl is crazy and winning $20,000 is awful powerful incentive to win,” said Czerwinski, who weighed in at 235, is a 3-to-1 favorite and just completed a graduate degree in manufacturing engineering. “I’m really looking forward to this, because I don’t know if I’ll experience anything like it.”
Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito
[photogallerylink id=3221 align=left]