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

Friday, June 08, 2007


I finally received word from Kate Westfall from the IFOCE about my registration in the World's Greatest Shoofly Pie Eating Contest on June 23rd in Lancaster. My official status is, wait for it, wait for it...STANDBY! Yeah, not exactly the "spot at the table" I was hoping for, but that's what you get when you register a whole 45 minutes after a contest opens. Kate said I'll know by June 12 if my standby status is upgraded to "eater."

Either way, I'll be there, whether it's as a spectator or as an eater. I like spectating sometimes becuase it allows me to take lots of pictures and play the "journalist" role. Regardless of which hat I'll be wearing that day, it's going to be an awesome event (as always). Did anyone else make it in?

One other thing Kate mentioned in her email was the prize money breakdown for this contest. It pays out to 7th place as follows: 1st ($4,000), 2nd ($2,000), 3rd ($1,500), 4th ($1,000), 5th ($750), 6th ($500), 7th ($250). Hopefully the IFOCE does this with future events as well (instead of only paying out to the top three). It's good for competition and it not only rewards lower ranked eaters, it also gives the occasional unranked entrant a chance to take home some cash.

I can't tell you how RIGHT this system is. Granted, this contest put up $10,000 in prize money, which is more than most sponsors are able to afford, but this can be done with even a $5,000 purse. Even if fourth through seventh got $100 each, it's still SOMETHING. And as Steakbellie recently wrote, it doesn't matter what the total is; everyone's happy when they get an oversized cardboard check.


Blogger Liz said...

You going to finally bring some points in for your team? ;-)

I hope you make it to eater! Are you doing any Nathan's qualifiers?

11:13 AM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

I'll be there. Heat and sugar scare me, but I'm pretty good at getting 7th place. Call me a paper chaser if you will.

11:18 AM

Anonymous Wild Bill said...

Dave - I think the only reason the money was increased was to pull in the higher ranked eaters. Apparently, from the MLE web page's current poll, Bob, Sonya, and Pat will be there. I'm guessing that Tim will be there, Juliet will probably come up, Chip may show up, for $5000, I'll bet Joey shows up. Wing Kong is showing good numbers so far this year, and Steakbellie did over 4 pounds last year. *I* personally have no illusions about finishing in the top seven. I probably should have went to the pig's feet eating contest. Sorry to rain on your parade, too, Pete.

11:34 AM

Blogger Wild Bill said...

My bad - $4000 for first place.

11:35 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Good points Wild Bill. Do you really think the bigger purse is to attract higher ranked eaters?

I mean, obviously it works, but wouldn't the impact of an MLE event be the same with $5,000 in prize money and three top 10 eaters as it would with $10,000 and more big name eaters? 99 pecent of the people in attendance would be there either way and a vast majority of them probably only recognize "the guy with the painted face" and "that other guy who won last year."

If I'm not eating, I think one of my side projects will be to talk with some of the people in attendance to get an idea of exactly who attends these events. What is the make-up of an competitive eating crowd? Family and friends of eaters? CE fans and groupies? Random passers-by? Homeless people?

11:49 AM

Blogger Wild Bill said...

You are correct about the crowd, but I also think that spreading the money to seventh place also increases the likelihood that more top 20 eaters show up. For example, last year's posole contest - thought I had a chance, money went to 5th. Erik, Tim, Rich, and Pat B. show up. And I get edged out by Mongo Marquez. Trop Meatballs - money to 5th place, every eater in the CE world shows up. Chock Full 'o' Nuts - money to 5th place, same situation.
On the other side of the coin - Asparagus and Sweet corn - limited money, limited amount of top 20 participation. (I can't explain Broadway At The Beach, other than the fact the Kong, SB, and myself are crazy).

12:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang Mega, when you gonna tell IFOCE to blow you?

they put you on Standby again.....they don't even have the courtesy to give you a damn reach around once in a while while they bang you in the ass!


1:54 PM

Blogger Carey said...

good luck, dave.
Who is this Tut or Boy king I see popping up everywhere? Couldn't be who I think it is, if so, he would have updated his blog by now with some important pierogi news.

2:52 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

More good points Bill. This system is beginning to look like double-edged sword. You're right about it bringing out more top ranked eaters, which might explain why it's hard for unranked schlubs like me to get a spot at the table. No matter...if I want a spot at the table, I should train harder.

Still, the IFOCE would be wise to reserve at least a handful of spots at each table for unranked and first-time eaters. Each first timer represents countless impressions and word-of-mouth coverage for the sport because those eaters will tell all their friends and family all about their upcoming appearance. For the ranked guys, it's just another free lunch (and the friends they tell about it already know about the sport).

Like I said earlier, whether it's five ranked pros at the table joined by five rookies OR a table with 10 ranked eaters, the effect for the crowd is the same. A bunch of guys getting messy, but man did you see how much that one guy ate!

3:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm a busy dude mr poehlman....

but I'll see you 6/23

4:09 PM

Anonymous beautifulbrian said...

Now they decide to payout 7 spots? When i competed in 2005 they only paid 1&2nd place. For 3rd place all they could come up with was a road map of PA. I tossed it in the garbage ended up taking Janus home and got nothing for my third place finish. The pie tastes like pure shit after a you get through 1/4 of the first pie. So rich in molasses you want to puke . Good luck!

1:25 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

I'll take a PA roadmap! I competed in last year's shoofly contest, and yes, I can attest to how overwhelming the molasses in the shoofly can become. Ugh. It's a fun one though. Really messy.

4:39 PM


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