Five time Wing Bowl champion Bill "El Wingador" Simmons revealed today on 610 WIP that he will return to compete in Wing Bowl 19 Feb. 4 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Wingador, 49, announced his retirement from competitive eating minutes after losing Wing Bowl 16 in 2008 to Joey Chestnut.
The South Jersey resident told WIP's Angelo Cataldi this morning that last week "He ate two pizza steaks and two pizzas and realized he was still hungry and his hunger extended to the glory of victory," Cataldi said
Wingador says his four-year-old son, Sean, inspired his return. Sean saw footage of his sister Felicia, 11, with their father at Wing Bowl and "He said he wanted to go and watch me eat," Wingador told us this afternoon. "He eats a lot like me but as a four-year-old version," says Wingador who will have Sean, Felicia and their sister Ashley, 15, accompany him on his entrance float.
Four other contestants have been chosen so far for Wing Bowl after completing eating feats in studio but one group Wingador won't face off with are professional eaters.
Cataldi says International Federation of Competitive Eating boss George Shea asked his pro-eaters not to participate in Wing Bowl due to the involvement of Japanese eating machine Takeru Kobayashi. Shea did not immediately return a request for comment.
Kobayashi, Cataldi says, will not eat at Wing Bowl 19 but will be there as the International Ambassador to Wing Bowl. Asked what kind of duties such a job requires, Cataldi told us "It's an absolutely bull---- title."
"He's meticulous. He wants to witness the event live to determine if he wants to compete in Wing Bowl 20. He's never been in competition that involved bones. It's a scientific approach he takes to his craft," Cataldi says.
Cataldi says there are $50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs this year, including $20,000 in cash from Steven Singer Jewelers. "People keep asking me about our plans. We make this up while we go along. We do a radio show. We don't have any idea what we're doing. If we do Wing Bowl and nobody dies, it's a success."