Monday, July 23, 2012

Contest Report: Public House NYC Watermelon Eating Contest

I've recently begun dieting again, for the five thousandth time. Counting calories is a bitch. I always knew it was but when you're really focusing on what you're eating and portioning things off, it can be super frustrating. Coincidentally enough, the next two weeks after deciding to follow somewhat of a regimen, two healthy eating contests hit. Next week we'll be eating corn at the Meadowlands. This past Saturday though, we headed to the city to eat watermelon.
The bar was called Public House and was right nearby my job. I wasn't sure what to expect, but when we got there, aside from the eaters, there was about ten people in total at the bar. Half of which left by the time the contest was starting.
When we spoke to the bar staff in prior days to the contest, we were told that the contest would be a five minute contest, eating sliced watermelon. At the bar, one of the contestants, "Gentleman" Joe Menchetti, noticed that the sign-in sheet said the contest would be first to finish. At that point, the contestants were myself, Joe, Pat "From Moonachi" Philbin, Mike "The Real Skinny" Hoffman and Johnny Excel. Then Dave "Tiger Wings And Things" Brunelli arrived and alerted us to a fact we all missed; the sign-in sheet said the contest was hands free. Nobody likes a hands free contest and if competitive eating is considered unsafe in some regards, hands free ups the risk a notch.
As we lined up, the rules seemed to be changing as though the contest were begin created on the fly. We were told to all line up and then they kept four people behind the table and asked the rest of us to stand off to the side. On the table were chunks of watermelon that were quartered. We each got a quater and were told we had to eat the watermelon hands free until about the half way point (which was determined by staff) at which point we were allowed to then brace the watermelon on the table with our hands.
The first heat included Joe, Mike and two amateurs. Joe won by eating his in about 45 seconds. Next up was me against Pat and another amateur. I won mine in about a minute. Then Dave and Johnny matched up with Dave finishing his in about 35 seconds.
At this point, I was about as close to a physical confrontation at a contest as I've ever been, including those with Dale Boone. As one of the eaters was having a hard time and was choking, another eaters friend started making jokes like the whole thing was funny. I was about to eat next and this person shoots off "alright, let's see who's next to die" and I lost it. I had been talking myself down, my hands shaking while this bafoon was making light of a serious situation as it was happening and I couldn't contain it. Luckily my girlfriend and two of the staff were between us as I came to my senses. After I was so bold as to threaten him, he shut up and later on tried to act as though we were pals.
After all the drama, and making sure said eater was ok, we waited around curiously to find out exactly how this contest was going to play out. We were told that the five minute watermelon slice contest was, in fact, going to happen now between the 3 heat winners. We were all give four full watermelons quartered and sliced and were told we had five minutes or if someone were to finish before then, they would be declared the winner.
Eventually Joe won. At the end of the five minutes, he had seven slices of watermelon left, Dave had seventeen and I had twenty seven. The watermelon was tough on the jaw because we were going through so many pieces since they went down fast.
While we were told there were no 2nd or 3rd place prizes, but they were nice enough to give myself and Dave a free dinner and lunch for two, respectively.
It was a clusterfuck of a contest, but a good hang none-the-less and got a $60 meal for the price of my $20 entry fee.




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