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Cardboard Shell on a roll

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted June 10, 2013
carboard shell wins cincinnati hooters qualifier
Having a hoot: King Voodoo, Mmm Mmm, the Bear, Big Brian and Cardboard Shell. © Tracy Goode

Cardboard Shell wins through to Hooters with the highest total yet while A-Train and the Deep-Fried Diva secure seats at Nathan's.

In April she became the first woman to outgob Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas.

On Friday (7/6/13) she knocked Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut into third place, simultaneously becoming only the third woman ever, alongside Miki Sudo (at the same event) and the Black Widow, to place above the Major League Eating (MLE) scarfing supremo.

Then on Saturday she added 'the Lovely' Juliet Lee1 to her list of scalps when she won this year's fourth Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship Qualifier at the Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team) in Cincinnati, Ohio by ramming 152 chicken wings down her crop in 10 minutes.

In so doing, she not only surpassed the 140 wings that both Jaws and the Black Widow put away in their respective qualifiers this year, but also the 144 Jaws gourmandised to win the inaugural Hooters final in July 2012.

Moreover, she also racked up the highest number of formerly feathered fried foul flappers ever eaten in one sitting in the contest's history, beating the 150 Adrian 'the Rabbit' Morgan transmogrified into mush to win the April 2012 Jacksonville qualifier.

We would call it a contest record because that's what it is but as no one ever agrees on such matters we won't for fear of raising the ire of pube-splitters the world over.

The fact is, though, she's on fire.

Metaphorically, of course.

Ladies and gentlemen, Michelle 'Cardboard Shell' Lesco is on a roll!

"Hooters was awesome," Cardboard Shell exclusively facebookifies the Rake & Herald.

"I knew it would be a tough contest, going up against Juliet and ['Big' Brian Subich], so I just went hard and didn't hold back."

"I was absolutely stoked at the results."

"I had been half-jokingly telling people I wanted to eat 141 to top Joey and Sonya's qualifying numbers, but I didn't really expect to put up such a solid number."

Yet more than just gunning for glory, a winner's cheque for $500 (£321) and a coveted place at the Hooters final in Clearwater, Florida this coming July 25, Cardboard Shell was also stuffing her gullet for a good cause: raising money for Charity:Water, a non-profit organisation that seeks to ensure that every person on this planet has access to potable water.

"I'm not sure what the total add will be for my Charity:Water fundraiser," Cardboard Shell continues.

"I'm hoping to see it surpass our current goal of helping 50 people get clean water for life (we're only $170 off)."

That's right.

You heard her.

Now get your wallets out and start dishing out the dosh, which you can do right this minute by first having a clicksy of thisksy.

After all, as Cardboard Shell notes on the Charity:Water website, "for competitive eaters, water is a game changer – for 1bn people in the world, water is a life changer".

So well done to Cardboard Shell on wolfing her way to the Hooters final while also doing her bit to improve the lot of others.

And well done too to the Lovely, who placed second with 128 wings down her cakehole to pick up $300, and birthday boy Big Brian, who came third with a gut count of 120 to land $200 just two days after hitting 39.

Many happy returns, by the way.

All three will now join Erik 'the Red' Denmark, Alex 'Moose' Perez, Bam Martinez, the Black Widow, Eric 'Badlands' Booker, Damien Boykin, Jaws, Neil Sebree and Jon 'Bastos' Bello at the original Hooters restaurant, where they will be afforded the chance of cementing their place in the annals of alimentary athleticism while also walking away with a wad of wedge worth $7,500.

Well, that's what Jaws got when he won it last year anyway so who knows, what with inflation factored in, it could be more.

Or maybe less given the state of the world economy.

Either way, it should be sufficient to buy enough mice, hats and wallpaper to fill an entire cupboard for a year.

Maybe even two.

But enough of such trifling matters of materialism, what does it feel like to bag a seat at the big bash in Clearwater?

"I feel pretty good about advancing to the finals and look forward to competing in Florida," Big Brian exclusively facebookerises the Rake & Herald.

"I feel I did pretty well."

"I never felt full during the contest and felt real comfortable the entire time."

"The wings actually were breaded Hooters wings when all other qualifiers were plain."

"In theory the breaded should probably be a little harder to eat, so having eaten 120 of them I'm happy."

"However, having just missed beating Juliet Lee for second place by eight wings sort of makes me wish I'd have pushed harder."

"As for the finals, I want to improve on the number I ate [on Saturday] and hope to hit 150."

"I can't wait for the finals, where I'm hoping to upset some top-ranked eaters."

And we hope you do too, sir, so long as you do it by scoffing more wings than them as opposed to telling them really scary ghost stories that make them cry.

Although, come to think of it, that could be quite a laugh in itself.

And talking of laughs, Louisiana-based MLE newcomer Corey Fanguy, who placed fifth with a belly bounty of 92 at the bell and who has now changed his eater name from 'Da Bayou Boy' to 'King Voodoo', clearly enjoyed himself.

"Seeing the city of Cincinnati was amazing," King Voodoo exclusively revfacebookeals to the Rake & Herald.

"The people, the culture and the atmosphere was so much different."

"To be there with a few of the best of pals out there and to be able to cutup while eating snowballs at the [baseball game that followed the chowdown] was amazing."

"What a great group of eaters we had out there."

"Thank you, Cincinnati Reds and Hooters."

"We had a blast, guys."

"I know I came in fifth place with 92 breaded wings in 10 minutes but that's not bad for my first try at breaded wings 'cause I am an unbreaded wing champion."

"I want another shot."

"Let's see how I do them unbreaded and sauced."

"Mmmmmmm... love me some wings, bawww..."

And from mmmmmmm to Mmm Mmm.

Despite also not qualifying for Clearwater, Rutles fan and Rake & Herald contributor Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode nevertheless upped his craw score this year by gannetising 84 Gallus gallus domesticus flight appendages to tie for seventh with Sean Mulcahey.

"I have mixed emotions," the joint-inventor of pizza fries tells the Rake & Herald in another exclusive converfacebookation.

"Doubled what I did last year but placed low."


"Cardboard blew me away!"

nathan's qualifier trophies calgary, alberta
Gongs of glory: A-Train and the Deep-Fried Diva also took these home. © MLE

But the Hooters qualifier in Cincinnati was certainly not the only MLE-sanctioned sudden-death scoff-off to unfold on Saturday for further north across the Canadian border Calgary, Alberta also played home to the seventh qualifier for this year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Staged at the CrossIron Mills Mall, the event attracted a whole host of eaters whose names we simply don't know.

However, when the dust had settled and the dogs devoured there could only be one winner: Aaron 'A-Train' Osthoff.

Hot on the heels of his silver-winning performance in oysters in New Orleans, he wasted no time in shoving 31 hot dogs and buns (HDBs) down his neck to secure a place mat at Coney Island alongside Pablo Martinez, Juan 'More Bite' Rodriguez, Bob 'Notorious B.O.B.' Shoudt, Pete 'Pretty Boy' Davekos, Yasir Salem, Jeff 'the Beast Man' Butler and reigning Men's champ Jaws.

At the same time, the women's seat was won by Meredith 'Deep-Fried Diva' Boxberger, whose gut count of 23 HDBs means she will now go head-to-head and jaw-to-jaw with the Black Widow, the current Women's title holder, as well as Molly Schuyler, Laura Riehman, Miki Sudo, Mary 'I Love 'Em Hot!' Bowers, Dee 'Pi Gal' Martin and Larell Marie 'the Real Deal' Mele.

As per last year, we assume, the winners of both events will not only receive $10,000 that they can then use to raise an army of tiger ants and lion squirrels with which to take over the world, but also a really big belt – mustard-coloured for the lads and sort of ketchup-mixed-with-mayonnaise pink for the ladies.

Furthermore, all will be afforded the opportunity to engorge themselves before a crowd of 40,000 spectators at the undisputed FA Cup of competitive eating.

What's more the whole shebang will also be broadcast live on the gogglebox (if you live in the States; the rest of us will have to wait for someone to bung it up on YouTube a few days later).

"Whenever you can punch your ticket to Coney Island, it feels good," A-Train exclusively facebookulates to the Rake & Herald.

"So that I am thrilled with," he continues, nonetheless noting that his performance could "have been better".

"This was my first hot dog 'run' since last June and I felt a little rusty."

"I had a bunch of room left in my stomach after the contest."

"I'll be ready to put up a bigger number on the 4th."

"Meredith did great and she was on my tail for most of the contest."

"I was very impressed with her."

"The city of Calgary is beautiful and the Nathan's Famous Canada folks are top notch."

"I look forward to returning next year."

"Any Canadians interested in trying Nathan's product can buy the hot dogs at Safeway and Sobeys grocery stores across the country," he adds.

"There are also three Nathan's restaurants in the Calgary area so the brand is definitely growing in Canada."

"It's exciting to watch it grow each year."

And talking of growing each year, the Deep-Fried Diva reports that this year's qualifier saw her bringing vertical to her hot dog bottom line in the form of an almost 7% increase in the amount of HDBs she chobbled into chyme compared to her 2012 Coney Island gulletisationalisationalism.

Or something.

"I was just looking to improve on my 21.5 from last year, so I was pretty happy with 23," she tells the Rake & Herald through another similarly exclusive yet totally different example of trans-Atlantic facebookery.

"Hopefully by the time the final contest roles around on July 4 I can hit 25+."

And we're most definitely with you on that one, ma'am.

Top stuff, indeed.

At this point in proceedings, I would normally be contractually obliged to hand other the mic to Rake & Herald fashion editor, London cabbie, self-appointed competitive eating pundit and total nobhead Kok Wang.

Fortunately, though, he's not here right now because shortly after we posted up our RibMania report, he downed a second bottle of Scotch, marched over to the stationery cupboard and grabbed the office chainsaw before announcing that he had "some work to do at the hospital".

That was several hours ago now, so hopefully he's been shot dead by armed police.

Or at least run over by a tank.

Anyway, while we all sit back and enjoy the silence like Depeche Mode with a head full of ear wax, here's the fullish results based on the MLE Twitter feed and website.


1) Michelle 'Cardboard Shell' Lesco (152 chicken wings in 10 minutes; $500; Seat, Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship);

2) 'The Lovely' Juliet Lee (128; $300; Seat, Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship);

3) 'Big' Brian Subich (120; $200; Seat, Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship);

4) Andrew 'the Bear' Kogutkiewicz (112);

5) Corey 'King Voodoo' Fanguy (92);

6) Matthew Raible (88);

=7) Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode (84);

=7) Sean Mulcahey (84);

9) John 'Ticket Wizard' or possibly John 'Ticket' Wizard or even better John Ticket-Wizard (32); and

10) Jerry Fowler or possibly Jerry 'Fowler' Scout or maybe even Jerry Fowler-Scout (10).


1) Aaron 'A-Train' Osthoff (31 HDBs in 10 minutes; Men's Seat, Coney Island, July 4); and

2) Meredith 'Deep-Fried Diva' Boxberger (23; Women's Seat, Coney Island, July 4).

Sorry, but we simply do not know the names of the other gurgitators who took part in the above Nathan's qualifier.

It's not our fault.

It's just tough tits.

Mind you, we can tell you that you that the remaining five Nathan's knockout heats will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (12/6/13); Atlanta, Georgia (15/6/13); Boston, Massachusetts (22/6/13); Queens, Noi Yoik (29/6/13); and East Rutherford, New Jersey (29/6/13).

Meanwhile, the next and final Hooters qualifier will be staged in Las Vegas, Nevada this coming June 26.

For more details regarding the above dates for your diary, have a click of this.

Anyway, major pats on the back to all the eaters, emcees, organisers and sponsors who made the two qualifiers happen in the first place.

Huge, huge thank yous and ginormous debts of gratitude too to Cardboard Shell, Big Brian, Mmm Mmm, A-Train and the Deep-Fried Diva for their exclusive quotes.

Thank you all very much indeed.

Hats off too to all our readers as well as the people who filmed/edited/uploaded/starred in the following clips for your pleasure and enlightenment, the first of which is embedded from the WPCO local news website and features a brief interview with Cardboard Shell, although there isn't really very much footage of the actual eating sadly.

But what's the best way to eat a chicken wing?

Well, here's one method you might like to try courtesy of the Hooter's YouTube channel.

Now compare that with the following techniques brought to you from Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti's food, drink and puke-filled one.

Notice how Deep Dish doesn't bother with "wet naps and paper towels".

A good tip to remember if you're a bloke on a first date, probably.

Otherwise, she'll only think you're a wee bit jessie.

Wet naps?

Wipe 'em on your shirt, soft lad!

Right, gotta go.

Booze editor Miltov Lamprey's just staggered in, clutching a box and a note from Kok.

"Orrite Sand, been takin cair ov biznis fur ya, in i?" it says.

"Open the boks an c wot I dun."

Oh f--king arse cakes!

It's a human foot.

With Nurse Draper's ID card wedged between the toes.

I think I'm gonna be sick.

He says he loves me.

See also Hooters 'n' hot dogs, posted 13/5/13.

To fully understand why Kok's just given Sandi a nurse's severed foot in a box, make sure you read Jaws ribbed by Sudo and Shell, posted 9/6/13.

Do you like our Sandi's scribblings? If so, why not befriend her on that FaceBook thing? We don't let her out much, see, preferring instead to shackle her to her desk inside an indestructible cage (it's actually a Perspex box with a couple of air holes stabbed into it with a chisel). As such, she's terribly lonely and unloved. Please find it in your heart to help her before her constant whining drives us to kill her with a sharpened curtain rod. Remember, Sandi's life is in YOUR hands so get 'friending', or whatever the trendy modern verb is. Please. She's just started crying again.


1) If you're not too au fait with the current MLE rankings, Jaws sits right at the top of the tree with the Black Widow third; Miki Sudo seventh; and the Lovely ninth. Cardboard Shell occupies the number 14 spot and is presently the fourth highest-ranked MLE female food fighter.

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