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All eyes on Hooters

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted July 23, 2012
Sonya Thomas (centre) and friends: Hooters has yet to open in Saudi Arabia. © Hooters (we believe)

Forget that over-hyped pile of crap in London. The real sporting action will be taking place this July at a Hooters restaurant in Florida.

This coming July 26, which we reckon to be this Thursday, is set to go down in sporting history as one of the greatest days ever when the Rake & Herald's favourite competitive eater Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas takes on bone fide superhero Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut in the first ever Hooters World Chicken Wing-Eating Championship, a 10-minute all-you-can-eat gobathon in Clearwater, Florida, US of A.

Jaws, the world record hot dog guzzler1 of San Jose, California, has long held the number one spot in the Major League Eating (MLE) eater rankings, with the fourth-placed Black Widow from Alexandria, Virginia the undisputed top female alimentary athlete.

While Jaws' list of achievements is truly legendary, what makes the Black Widow stand out so much is the fact she weighs in at just 100 lbs (45.4 kg) but still has the capacity to eat more food in a matter of nanoseconds than a whole army of fat knacker/locust hybrids could chobble in a week.

As well as setting a new women's hot dog record of 45 dogs and buns in 10 minutes with no reversal at the 2012 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Black Widow has also downed, among other things, 46 mince pies in 10 minutes; a 7.75 lb (3.5 kg) turducken in 12 minutes; and 65, I repeat sixty-five, hard-boiled eggs in six minutes, 40 seconds.

Quite simply, Sonya Thomas is amazing, although I dread to think what would happen after eating 65 hard-boiled eggs.

I once ate seven for lunch and three days later the doctor still had to use a crowbar to get me going.

However, I digress.

Officially sanctioned by MLE, the July 26 event will see a total purse of $15,000 up for the taking, with the chow-down set to commence at 19.00 local time at the original Hooters on 2800 Gulf-To-Bay Boulevard.

Pre-contest entertainment will apparently begin at 18:00.

Exactly what it will entail, though, is anybody's guess.

A motorcycling horse would be good.

Or a duck on stilts.

But, like I say, we haven't got a clue.

What is known for certain (or at least stated in an MLE press release) is that Jaws "has been badly beaten twice in chicken wings" by the Black Widow, who MLE consider "a wing-specialist".

Fortunately, as far as we are aware, he has never been badly beaten with chicken wings as that would be horrible.

Unlike the sport in question.

"Chicken wing eating is among the most demanding and elegant disciplines in the world of sport," says MLE chairman and boater-wearing MC par excellence George Shea.

"Sonya Thomas, with her lithe frame, dexterity and grace, was born for it and has repeatedly outmanoeuvred Joey and other top competitors who are three times her size."

"However, Joey is hot off his July 4th win and looking to take down the Black Widow," he states.

joey jaws chestnut
Chestnut means business: Jaws shows off one of his many crowns. (Check bottom for credit)

But these two übermeisters of mastication certainly won't be the only gastric gymnasts with their eyes on the Hooters prize.

Joining them on the chicken wing podium will be MLE number two Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti of Chicago, Illinois, who will no doubt be seeking to add chicken wings to his current tally of 39, I repeat thirty-nine, world records.

Meanwhile, both fifth-ranked Bob 'Notorious B.O.B' Shoudt from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and 'Lovely' Juliet Lee, "a petite mother of two" from Germantown, Maryland and the Black Widow's top female rival, will also be cramming their craws with cooked chicken appendages.

As will DJ NRG Raver's favourite gurgitator, the one and only Crazy Legs Conti of Noi Yoik, Noi Yoik.

However, if we could somehow blag a free trip to Clearwater (hint), we'd be obliged to cheer on Lewis Richards of London, England, Oxfordshire.

To be honest, I have no idea who he is but I certainly hope he wears cor blimey trousers, does his training in Pellicci's and swears like how's your father.

Or something.

Yeah, c'mon, Lewis.

Use yer chip shovels to get 'em down yer north!

Also hungry for victory at Hooters this Thursday will be Adrian 'the Rabbit' Morgan (Baton Rouge, LA); Erik 'the Red' Denmark (Seattle, WA); Tim 'Gravy' Brown (Chicago, IL); Micah 'Wing Kong' Collins (Drexel Hill, PA); and 'Nasty' Nate Biller (Wichita Falls, TX).

As ever, we wish them all well and hope they all somehow come first with a new world record.

More importantly, we hope they feel it in their hearts to share their winnings with us.

We reckon a 40:60 split would be fair but we'll settle for 50:50 if we really have to.

Known for the conservative nature of its waitresses' uniforms, Hooters this past April launched an 11-city World Wing-Eating Championship tour that MLE describes as "the first-ever circuit of its kind to identify the best chicken wing-eaters in the world" and which would "culminate with a grand finale event in advance of National Chicken Wing Day, which is July 29".

"The winner from each qualifier earned his or her spot at the July 26 Championship in Clearwater, where he or she will compete for the title and the glory of World Wing-Eating Champion and a cash prize of $7,500," the press release I'm quoting directly out of sheer laziness continues.

The next six finishers will each, in descending order of place, take home $3,000, $2,000, $1,000, $750, $500 and $250.

"For nearly 30 years Hooters has been known for our original, fresh never frozen, world-famous chicken wings and so it's only natural that we mark National Chicken Wing Day with a wing-eating competition and a special promotion for our loyal customers," says Hooters of America's chief marketing officer David Henninger.

"We invite all Hooters fans to stop by the original Hooters restaurant in Clearwater, Florida and help us celebrate our heritage and crown the first world wing eating champion."

The aforementioned qualifiers were held in Augusta, Georgia; St Louis, Missouri; Jacksonville, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Bay Area, California; Detroit, Michigan; Miami, Florida; Sacramento, California; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Why they never staged one in Scredda, Cornwall, though, remains a mystery.

The Rake & Herald loves competitive eating, the greatest sport on Earth. So why not have a root round our society section (which covers everything from sport and fashion to crime and economics) to read more of our award-worthy coverage? Go on. It's completely free.


1) At the 2012 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Isalnd, Noi Yoik, Chestnut consumed 68 dogs and buns in 10 minutes, winning the event for the sixth consecutive year while simultaneously equalling the record he set in 2009. The man is a legend.

Picture credits

Top and thumb: Sonya Thomas and friends, which we found in the news section of the Hooters website.

Bottom: Joey Chestnut with one of his many crowns by Jjrobs.

For licensing information click the above links.

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