I arrived at Mallie’s Sport Bar and Grill a little after 2PM Eastern time. A crowd was already forming to see both the calamari eating contest and the to be later revealed new record holder for world’s largest hamburger. Luckily everyone was dispersed enough eating and drinking that I was still able to take a prime front and center view of the action!
Before the contest I said hi to some of the eaters who I have met through my years of stalking, er, watching them. I wished them all luck than claimed my position up front as more people started crowding in.
And then we waited, of course, as giant burger centerpieces were laid, and cups set, and plates and plates of calamari hit the tables. Finally it was time to begin as all the eaters were called to take their places. Besides the favorites of Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti and Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas and Crazy Legs Conti and Humble Bob Shoudt there were some locals and newcomers and even Pat’s brother Joe!
They all took their places on stage and before you knew it they were off eating!
Plates and plates of fried squid disappeared. Most of the center players took to squishing the tentacles together into a seafood and breading ball that was devoured. It was hard to keep up with who was winning. The table enders seemed to slow quickly, eating all the way to the end but not at the ferocious pace of Sonya and Pat and Bob.
And as the crowd counted down from ten to one there was seemingly no clear cut winner. They finished their chipmunked particles and counted plates and in the end, with three of them on their seventh plate, the emcee had to bring out the scale to weigh them in.
In the end it was Crazy Legs (3.4375 lbs.) in fourth, Sonya Thomas in third (6.125 lbs.), Humble Bob Shoudt (6.3125 lbs.) in second, and Pat Bertoletti (6.625 lbs.) in first.
Calamari seemed to me that it would be a hard one to eat. I can eat a lot of calamari myself but I would think the chewiness would hinder the ability to eat it fast. Crazy Legs later told me that his strategy was to ball the entire plate of food into one squished mash like he’d seen done long ago in a cheese fries competition, but in the end he had forgotten to take into account the denser chewier inside the squid provided that didn’t allow his theory to work as well as he had hoped.
But in any case they all gave a strong showing and the contest was exciting!