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.