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

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Less than a minute into the contest I knew it -- this wasn't going to end well. And it didn't. But I didn't finish last. Let's just get that out of the way right now. In yesterday's World's Greatest Shoofly Pie Eating Contest in Lancaster I managed to down a measly 2.7 pounds of pie in the longest 8 minutes of my life.

Pat Bertoletti would outeat me by almost 8 and a half pounds to take first place and set a new shoofly pie world record with 11.1 pounds eaten. He also took home $4,000 for his efforts (a complete list of winners can seen here). Overall it was a good clean contest (clean as in no need for judge intervention, not clean as in...clean). The weather was perfect and the crowd was really into the action. The emcee work by Mike was spot on as usual, although the introduction music was hit or miss. Here's a few pics of the action.

Here's a shot of the amateur round, held right before the pro contest. That's Pete on the left. He drove up from NJ to compete. Sean Gordon would win this round with just over four pounds eaten. He also won the amateur shoofly round last year. There were over 20 amateur eaters which initially caused the judges to fear that there wouldn't be enough pies left over for the pro round. They were going to give each amateur one pie and the first to finish would be declared the winner, but they ended up having enough pies after all and avoided what would have been a difficult contest to judge (as first to finish contests with sloppy debris foods like this often are).

The Eagles cheerleaders were on hand to keep things lively before and during both the amateur and pro rounds.

This picture shows Pat Bertoletti somewhere near the end of the contest. One spectator said Pat finished his first pie (2.7 pounds) in 55 seconds (the countdown clock was located immediately behind him).

Yeah, I'm NUMBER ONE! No, I was actually signalling how many pies I had eaten. One stinkin' pie. For a total of 2.7 stinkin' pounds. A few moments later I was chatting with Juliet Lee, who had eaten 6.6 pounds. What happened next was a little heart breaking. From the side of the stage I heard two little voices saying "Mega Munch, Mega Munch!" To my right were Juliet's two daughters, about 9 and 6 years old. "Mega Munch," they asked me excitedly, "How many pies did you eat?!" I smiled, held up one finger and shrugged. They kept smiling but I knew what they were thinking.

I love this picture. It's my computer wallpaper right now. It's the perfect summary of the sticky, gooey mess that is "wetbottom" shoofly pie (the gooey kind). This was actually taken early in the contest. My hands -- and everyone elses -- would get much messier. It made post contest handshakes pretty interesting.

Sonya Thomas and Bob Shoudt head down the home stretch. With Pat being the odds on favorite to win it (which he did), Sonya and Bob Shoudt were left to battle it out for second place. Sonya won the battle, outeating Bob 9.3 pounds to 9.25 pounds.

Here's Sonya giving the eye to the pie after the contest. Beau was snapping pictures throughout the contest and watched her afterwords pulling lumps of pie out of her hair as she told someone, "I felt something in my mouth and I was eating my hair!" Here's another shot of Sonya not looking like she wants more shoofly pie anytime soon.

Here we see the plates being weighed to determine the top finishers. The judges were very careful about getting an accurate total for each competitor. All eaters were told to scoop their table debris into the tins of thier uneaten pies, so no one received credit for anything that they didn't swallow. I like how visibly bloated Pat Bertoletti looks in this picture. That's what 11.1 pounds of pie will do to you. Enlarged version here.

I love how Sonya is looking up so happily at Pat and his new championship belt. Anyone who says she's a sore loser would have been proven dead wrong on this day.

A full set of pics can be seen here. More pics, from Beau's camera, can be seen here.


Blogger Scooter Couple said...

Megalooser is what Julie Lee's daughters were thinking, right Dave?

Ah geez, a lot hoop players can slam, though not like Jordan -- this does not make them a looser Mega Dave.

You're a winner in my book!


8:35 PM

Blogger joeylee said...

Oh No, No, No....
Dave, you normally get it right, but this time you were way off. You could have eaten 1/10 of a pie and our girls would have still thought you are greatest! You're actually "Mega Munchie" around our kitchen table, and we were all so happy to see you, it really didn't matter to us how you placed. Remember that a good heart and strong spirit are what carry you long after a day's numbers are forgotten. All of us look forward to seeing you again soon! You rock (in kidspeak!)

Juliet, Joey & the girls

9:47 PM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

Before the contest started I was just thinking to myself, Pete you better get down at least one pie. So by my standards you did pretty good.

10:42 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Thanks Jeremy, Pete, and Juliet. Yeah, I'm always a little hard on myself after sub-par performances. Probably, more than I should be.

It's nice to know the supporters are still out there, including your daughters, Juliet. Your whole family is awesome...I look forward to seeing you, Joey and the girls at future contests.

7:11 AM

Anonymous INVADER said...

Now how could I not give praise to the UEPa president despite the outcome?!?! You polished off one of the toughest pies around and still placed. Don't be hard on yourself! Plus you got to compete at one of the toughest tables ever. Definitely props from the INVADER.

10:13 AM

Anonymous evan said...

Yes, but how many flies did you eat?

12:04 PM

Anonymous Jake from SF said...

You the Mega Man... Mega Munch... those pies actually look pretty good... I'm sure they went down slow and sucked to swallow, but did they at least taste alright?

7:48 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Thx for the props Invader. You'll be happy to know I spread the UEPa love while I there, giving out UEPa magnets to all the PA eaters in attendance.

I didn't swallow any flies, but that might not have been a bad thing all things considered. Jake was right, the pies went down slower than molasses (because the molasses was mixed with a powdery topping to create a mudlike sludge). No real chewing needed, except for chunks of crust. Lots of water drinking, swishing it around in your mouth to break things up.

Bertoletti said afterwords that the key was in the water (using gulps of it to force the gluey mass down your throat). I can only imagine how many ounces of liquid he consumed during his 11.1 pound run.

The taste was good. I think the pie would be great by the slice, but definitely not by the fistful. Shoofly pie in general varies dramatically. There's wetbottom pie, which is what we had, with a gooey center and then there's drybottom, which is a cake-like center. I highly recommend it if you can find it.

8:19 PM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

Thanks for the magnet Dave. I got a lot of what is this when I put it on the fridge.

10:50 PM

Blogger Carey said...

Good job Dave and Pete, a whole pie is actually something to be proud of. So Dave, what are your plans for the future? I remember our conversation on the phone after the contest, are you going to keep competing? I wouldn't base anything off of that stuff, it is hard to eat.

7:20 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Not sure Carey. Whatever I decide, I'll definitely continue competing with friends and with the UEPa. And local contests. As for IFOCE contests, I really only compete in two contests a year -- shoofly and whatever else pops up (last year it was 3 Brothers Pizza in DC).

Still, I can't continue competing in pro contests using only my natural abilities (i.e. without training). It's not fair to the eaters and, let's face it, it's slightly embarassing.

By the way, good job Pete. You whooped me this time, but we'll face off again soon.

7:33 AM

Blogger Carey said...

Start your own bar contests out there in "Harrisonburg" and I will come out to support it.

9:30 AM

Blogger The Rahn Family said...

One pie is more than I could eat. Good job! How many calories did the winner eat, just curious.

11:15 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Yeah, if I can parlay this thing into a free meal now and then and maybe a shot at some gift certificates, I'll be happy!

I'm meeting with a PR guy next week over beers to discuss his ideas for incorporating eating contests into some local events he's working on this year (he organized last summer's contests and the chili contest I emceed earlier this year). I'll keep you posted.

11:16 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Not sure about calories in Pat's four pies, but I do know that Joey Chestnut's 59.5 hot dogs and buns contain over 19,000 calories (320 each).

11:51 AM


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