"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Friday, June 16, 2006

My IFOCE pro eating debut

Well, it’s official. I’ll be making my professional, IFOCE-sanctioned competitive eating debut on June 24 at the World's Greatest Shoo-fly Pie Eating Contest in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about it. Those who know me are excited too…or at least excited for me. Those who don't know me or don't follow competitive eating just think it's kind of weird. At least until I mention the prize money and then they say, "Oh, SNAP!! How do I get in on some of that sweet shoofly action?!" (Actually they usually say something lame about being able to buy a lot of TUMS.)

I registered for the event a while ago and didn’t think I made the cut until I got an e-mail from Kate Westfall at the IFOCE last week. In her email she asked if I’d like to compete against the pros or if I’d like to square off against the amateurs in a preliminary contest held right before the main event. Needless to say, I chose to go up against the big dogs.

Here’s my rationale. It has nothing to do with prize money ($2,500 for first versus only $250 for the amateur winner). I hold no illusions that I’ll come in first, second or even third in the pro contest. Okay, I like to think I have a shot at third, which packs a $100 prize (just enough to cover training expenses), but there’ll probably be at least three pros in the contest so that might still be a lofty goal. Besides, if I were motivated by money, I’d be better off in the amateur event because my chances of winning are much greater.

No, what motivates me is the competition and the fact that I might never have an opportunity to compete in an IFOCE event again, so why the hell not, right?

So I guess I’d better get my ass in gear and get ready for this thing. Eater X is the world record holder when it comes to shoofly pie with six pounds in eight minutes during last year’s competition. Big Brian Subich and Beautiful Brian Seiken also competed.

In case you’re wondering, shoo-fly pie is a dessert with Pennsylvania Dutch origins made with a veritable shit ton of molasses. It comes in two varieties: wet bottom (sweet, gooey molasses throughout) and dry bottom (with more of a cake-like consistency). I’m heading to Lancaster tomorrow to visit Dutch Haven, a co-sponsor of the event and the provider of the pies that will be eaten during the contest. I’m sort of hoping for the thick, gooey pies. I’ve tried both this week and the wet bottom seems to go down a little easier. I’m sure it has something to do with the built in moisture.

While I’m at Dutch Haven, I’ll pick up five or six pies to practice with. Now I know the IFOCE opposes “at home training” on the grounds that it can be dangerous and all that other stuff. I respect that judgment. That’s why I refuse to train at home. I just won’t do it. Instead, I’ll train at work on my lunch break (or at least eight minutes of my lunch break). I might also go to the Rockvale Shopping Outlets – which is where the event will be held – and train there. You know, just to get a feel for the lay of the land and the environment. They say eating outdoors is much different from eating indoors (for example, at one’s desk or in the conference room.)

So that's it. I'll post again on Sunday with reports and pictures of the pies. In the meantime, I need a nickname and maybe some sort of stage persona. But nothing too over the top. I am, after all, just a lowly rookie.


Anonymous liz said...

Very cool! We'll see you there.

10:52 AM

Blogger Krista said...

Yes, Looking forward to meeting you and getting to see your first eating event.

11:16 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Thank you both. The Rockvale Outlets aren't bad either. Just down the street from the Tanger Outlets. Both are a short buggy ride from a store called "Amish Stuff." That's where I bought my official black felt Amish hat which I plan to wear in next Saturday's contest to pay homage to the pie. I might look like an ass, but the Pennsylvania Dutch gods (which I think is just the regular God) will be on my side that day.

8:42 AM

Blogger steakbellie said...

Good Luck in Lancaster. I'll be there eating as well. I applaud you giving it a shot, why go through life never knowing?

The few contests I've been in were a total hoot, and I'm guessing you'll be as hooked as I am with this sport (not that you arent already in deep!) There are just so many nice people involved, I dont mind making myself completely sick!
See you at the table!

10:28 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Awesome to hear you'll be there too. Good luck!

8:23 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home