What I Learned As A Competitive Eater For A Day
When Wing King Drew Cerza asks you to do something, you just sorta go along with it.
I don't know if you've ever met Drew -- if you have, then you know he's a persuasive guy who's almost too sweet to say no to.
So when he asked me to participate in the amateur wing eating contest at Wingfest 2019, I couldn't say no.
I mean, originally, I thought he was joking.
And that's how I found myself on a stage facing down a tray of 60 chicken wings waiting to be devoured in 10 minutes or less in front of a crowd of hundreds.
I was the only female competitor, and while that made me feel a little intimidated, I was also the only contestant who'd literally been coached by world-champion competitive eater Joey Chestnut.
So I'm like....I got this.
Chestnut's tips included a strategy to quickly remove the meat from the bone, as if you were opening an umbrella. Liquids are key too (Joey uses warm water, I went with "sitting in the sun for a while" bottled water, which was pretty much the same thing). As well, I followed his advice to fast for 24-hours beforehand.
OK, I didn't follow the fast EXACTLY. I had an enormous 24 oz Budweiser as an appetizer.
And maybe that was the difference between 3rd and 4th place -- as it turns out, I'm a fairly decent competitive eater. I managed to get 34 wings down in 10 minutes, which was good enough for 4th place (out of seven).
Seeing as I've never in my life eaten more than 10 wings in one sitting, I wildly exceeded my own performance expectations.
So here's what I learned -- all of Joey Chestnut's tips are really helpful. I learned that fasting for 24 hours is a breeze -- especially in the 24 hours post-contest! I just finally ate again following yesterday's 4pm competition, which is great, because I wasn't sure I'd ever want to eat again.
And I also learned -- the easier it looks, the harder it actually is.