In a shocker, an out-of-towner nicknamed "The Bear" has won Wing Bowl XXI, and $20,000, by consuming 287 wings in just a half-hour.
The total was second-most in Wing Bowl history, surpassed only by last year's professional winner, Takeru Kobayashi, who did not defend his title.
Falling five wings short was three-time champ Jonathan "Super" Squib of South Jersey, the lone local representative in the top-tier matchup of top eaters from six cities. His total of 282 wings actually his Wing Bowl best. It just wasn't good enough.
One consolation: The Dallas entry, wearing a Tony Romo jersey, puked early on and had to be disqualified. "If you heave, you leave," as the event's rule of tum declares. Jordan "Baby Face" Avalos, who weighs only 155 pounds, also ran away in panic midway through his entourage tour around the arena floor. Might have had something to do with being pelted by various objects.
It was a wild Wing Bowl (as usual), highlighted by the enthusiastically cheered appearance of Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who had little to say beyond, "Wow. Wow," and something about how as great as Wing Bowl is, the celebration of an Eagles Super Bowl win might be 1,000 times as mind-blowing.
The biggest area winner was Dave "U.S. Male" Goldstein, of Voorhees, who won a new Nissan Pathfinder for eating 266 wings, most in the all-local portion of the competition. Earlier, he also won 12 trips to a resort in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, for putting on the best show during the opening parade of eaters' entourages.
His "Bynumland" float, complete with bowling pins, spoofed sidelined Sixer center Andrew Bynum, who said he injured a knee while rolling a few frames. Goldstein grabbed his own knee, and collapsed in mock-agony.
James "The Bear" McDonald of Granby, Conn., who ate five dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in 9 minutes as his pre-Wing Bowl stunt, was trailing Goldstein (148 wings) and Squib (138) after the first 14-minute round. But McDonald picked up the pace to take the lead after Round 2 with 265, solidly surprassing Squib's 253 and the 247 for U.S. Male. Two Philly guys also made the Top 5: Brendan "Skin & Bones" Lyman, with 202, and David "Tiger Wings & Things" Brunelli, with 220.
The only other out-of-towner to make the Top 10 was New York's Wayne "Wayneywonder" Algenio, who gave double-barreled middle fingers to the booing crowd during his entrance. He ate a not-so-hot 81 wings in the first 14 minutes.
During the final two-minute sprint, Brunelli barfed. There it was, all over the table, as seen by everyone on the Jumbotron.
"I just started with competitive eating last year," McDonald said during an on-air interview after the crowd had mostly cleared. He entered 27 eating events last year, and won most of them, including hamburgers, hot dogs, burritos (a favorite) and enchiladas.
It was only his second chicken-wing eating contest.
"This is the most insane eating event in the world," he said.
McDonald's total was well short of the record 337 wings inhaled last year by Kobayashi. That's a rate of more than 11 per minute.
Otherwise, McDonald's feast would have made Wing Bowl history.
The locals making the Top 10, besides Goldstein and Squib, were Dimitry "Ukraine Train" Shchupak, of Langhorne, with 87; Jack "Snack Jack" Diamond, of Bainbridge, Pa., with 92; Richard "Uncle Rico" Franceschi, 5-1, Franklinville, N.J., with 97; Richard "Not Rich" Razzi, of Schwenksville, with 102; Lyman, with 126; and Brunelli, with 128.
Seventeen other contestants were eliminated for not making the Top 10.
By the way, P.J. Whelihan's, the pub chain, said it prepared 10,000 wings for the event, according to Cataldi.