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Wing Bowl 19 good to the last bite

WHEN JONATHAN "Super Squibb" Squibb eats chicken wings, he rhythmically bobs his head up and down. He shimmies his shoulders. He sways his hips. He looks as if he's dancing to a song no one else hears.

Takeru Kobayashi shows off for the chicks with a cheesesteak.
Takeru Kobayashi shows off for the chicks with a cheesesteak.Read more

WHEN JONATHAN "Super Squibb" Squibb eats chicken wings, he rhythmically bobs his head up and down. He shimmies his shoulders. He sways his hips. He looks as if he's dancing to a song no one else hears.

He looks happy.

But his demeanor while eating wings can't compare to what Squibb felt after he won 610 WIP's Wing Bowl 19 for the third straight time.

"Total euphoria," Squibb said.

Squibb, a corporate accountant from Berlin, N.J., devoured 255 chicken wings, beating out Bill "El Wingador" Simmons' 254. Despite the tight race, it was a record-shattering year in terms of cluckers consumed for the annual eating competition. The previous record was held by Joey Chestnut, who ate 241 wings in 2008.

Despite the full slate of competitors, Wing Bowl 19 was always about Squibb and Simmons: the young bull versus the battle-weary veteran.

When Squibb eats a wing, he's methodical. He sticks it in his mouth and rabidly twists it, bopping his head all the while. When it emerges, only the bone remains.

Squibb won $20,000 in cash, a ring from Steven Singer Jewelers and a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500. But he won't quit his day job for the competitive-eating circuit. "This is my opus," he said. "I don't want to risk that."

Simmons has a different eating style: He grabs a wing and takes it all in seemingly one bite, with the meat disappearing into the abyss that is his mouth.

"It could have gone either way. Squibb's a great eater," said Simmons, a Woodbury Heights resident who has won five previous Wing Bowl titles. "If he has one thing over me - other than one wing - it's youth."

But Simmons was gracious after his close loss, shaking hands with Squibb and bringing him in for a hug. "He reminds me a lot of myself," said Simmons, who gave the 25-year-old Squibb some pointers at the weigh-in, like relax and have a good time.

Squibb responded in kind, calling Simmons "a great champion."

Simmons' 12-year-old daughter, Felicia, said she was proud of her pops no matter what the outcome, but she did have to return to school after the competition. (She has no plans to follow in dad's footsteps.)

Also in Simmons' entourage was legendary competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi, who donned a Flyers jersey with his name on the back. Kobayashi caused controversy at this year's Wing Bowl after the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFCE) told its members not to compete due to the famed eater's involvement, as the Daily News reported in December. Kobayashi is supposedly feuding with IFCE president George Shea.

But that didn't deter guys like Voorhees' Dave "US Male" Goldstein, whose float was preceded by a banner with restrictions from the IFCE. Goldstein broke the banner in half with a toy rifle.

Kobayashi wasn't officially a part of Wing Bowl - he's never competed in an eating competition that involves bones - but he did thrill the crowd by eating a cheesesteak in 24 seconds. Wit, naturally.

"Simply, it's comforting that I can choose what I want to do. There's nothing better than freedom and that goes well with this city," the slight, Japanese Kobayashi said through a translator. "After researching this year, I'd definitely come back next year."

But few actually go to Wing Bowl for the eating.

John "Freak of Nature" Harker, of Woodbury, won the prize (a trip from Apple Vacations) for Top Entourage. He rode into the stadium on his rendition of Mount Rushmore, with the faces of the Phillies' Four Aces - Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels - replacing the traditional visages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Harker and his posse are dedicated. They won the same title last year.

Arguably more honorable is the title of Wingette of the Year, which went to Liz M., of Northern Liberties. She took home a red Harley Davidson 883 Sportster motorcycle from Barb's Harley Davidson.

The event wouldn't be complete without a porn star or two milling around. This year, the adult entertainers included Mary Carey, Katie Morgan and Ron Jeremy, who said he had been up since 3:30 a.m. but was still looking mighty spry in his Crocs.

"What I find amazing is this stadium probably couldn't sell out a Guns 'N' Roses concert, but it sells out for these guys eating chicken," Jeremy said before the event started.

But what really brought Ron to Wing Bowl? "I've seen girls dancing all my life," Jeremy said. "I'm ready to see some eating."