Wing Bowl. Where do I start? Where does anyone start when talking about Wing Bowl? The tailgating? The wings? The strippers? (Sorry..."Wingettes.") I guess I'll just start from the beginning and tell the story with the help of some photos.
A week prior to Wing Bowl, Big Brian Subich (a friend and Wing Bowl competitor) asked me to be a part of his entourage and take some pics of the action. I happily obliged.
10:30 pm - Big Brian's crew and our crew got to the Holiday Inn at the same time only to be told that they weren't allowing tailgating this year, which was really a mystery to me, because why wouldn't
you want to open up your parking lot and lobby restroom to hundreds of drunk, rowdy twentysomething year olds?
11:00 pm - After about 30 minutes of driving around in a panic looking for a place to party, we finally set up shop in a parking lot adjacent to Lincoln Financial Field. The gate was open and there were already a few partiers there. It was perfect. Brian's crew pitched a big tent (that's Big B in the foreground), lit a huge grill. We were ready to party, and we did for about an hour until the owner of the lot showed up and politely kicked our asses out.
12:30 pm - After we got booted from Tailgate Lot #1, we moved onto the parking lot at Chicky & Pete's, the bar just outside the sports complex area where the Wing Bowl weigh-in was held earlier that day. Brian's crew didn't set up the tent, but we did fire up the grill
and the U-Haul was hoppin'. Here's Evan, Beau and I trying to drink as fast as we could to warm up. Carey and Jill were also there. Brian used the time to catch some Z's
in his Caddy. Too bad the cops stopped by around 1:45 am and kicked us all out.
1:30 am - After some more driving (don't worry, we were still very much not drunk
), we hit the motherload. A parking lot jam-packed with cars and rowdy drunkeness near Citizen's Bank Park. It was heaven. A woman at the gate was charging $5 per car, which we were happy to pay. This bonfire attracted the local fire department and eventually led to the police breaking up the party around 2:15 am. We watched all the underage crews scatter when the cops showed up. Fearing nothing, we stayed until 3:00 am before finally leaving peacefully. The woman at the gate taking money? She was just someone who decided to cash in by making up her own cover charge. She was arrested.
3:15 am - Weilding the power of our entourage passes, we finagled our way into the Wachovia Center parking lot and partied in what would be our fourth and final location of the night. Here we see Beau and Pete scarfing down some hot dogs.
4:15 am - As a member of Big Brian's entourage and his official photographer, I broke free from the U-Haul crew and headed into the Wachovia Center. Beau and Evan would finally get in and find their seats around 6:15 am...15 minutes before the start of eater introductions.
4:45 am - Each eater's entourage had a clearly marked spot to hang out backstage. Here's Big Brian (right) and his crew waiting. We would wait for about two hours before finally heading into the main event. In the meantime, there was plenty of socializing with fellow eaters and oogling of Wingettes.
5:00 am - Joey Chestnut stops by for a chat. Here we are having a pointing contest. I totally won. The crazy eyes made all the difference.
5:45 am - Dave the Dumpster's Wingettes assemble for a little pep talk. They were peppy.
5:50 am - Pat Bertoletti signs an autograph for a member of Steakbellie's entourage.
6:15 am - Big Brian poses with his Wingettes. Not sure where his left hand is. Just kidding Mrs. Subich, it was in his pocket! (At least it wasn't here
6:35 am - We're on the floor and making our rounds. As a member of an entourage, once Brian took the stage I was herded into an area in the center of the arena to watch from up close. While it was awesome vantage point, I left to find Beau and Evan in the upper deck. The main reasons? So I could sit down AND watch the real action on the jumbotron.
Here's some of the "real action." Here's some even better action
After three hours of pomp, circumstance, eating and boobs, Joey Chestnut wins Wing Bowl 16 by devouring 241 wings (anhiliating his old record of 186). He won a $10,000 Harley for finishing on top in the first round and a $30,000 Toyota Truck for winning the whole thing. Pat Bertoletti finished second with 227 wings. Not bad for a guy who's flight from Chicago was delayed and who didn't end up landing in Philly until about 3:30 am.
A full set of pictures can be seen here