With all the pomp and circumstance of a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) bout, Major League Eating came to my town of Baldwinsville, New York last weekend for the first ever Salt Potato Eating Championship. In the past I have mentioned salt potatoes, a favorite summer delicacy of Upstate New Yorkers. The 3 pound tins of salt potatoes were presented by a few local lovelies picked by the barker, I mean emcee of the event, Major League Eating President George Shea with perfect pitch and music to accompany them.
The top competitive eaters in the world were brought in to see how many pounds (yes, I said pounds) of salt potatoes they could eat in 10 minutes to kick off the Wild Carp Week tournament festivities. Many had colorful names fitting the lavish introductions Mr. Shea barked out before the start of the event. Humble Bob Shoudt, Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti and the Number 1 competitive eater in the world and current Nathan’s Hot Dog eating champion, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, each strutted onto the Budweiser Amphitheater stage on Paper Mill Island each time Shea started up a new music track and string of over the top adjectives to describe their past eating exploits.
Each competitive eater had various kinds of drinks and juices which they laid out in front of them. It was interesting to see them get ready for their competition as the crowd counted down to the start. To think of this as a sport seems silly but, to these guys and gal, it was serious business which pays the best eaters over $200 thousand a year.
As the competitors entered the last minute of the competition, it was clear it was coming down to Pat Bertoletti, the number 2 competitive eater in the world, and Joey Chestnut. Each kept loading up their mouths full of salt potatoes. Joey was jumping up and down to help get the salty, butter covered smashed potatoes down into his stomach. Pat spewed his red Kool-Aid drink to help get his down.
In the end, it came down to the weight of a couple of salt potatoes. And the winner is…
Joey Chestnut by eating 13 pounds in 10 minutes! That is two bags of salt potatoes and more than half of another. In contrast, I eat maybe a half dozen at a time. I guess the $5,000 first prize will help Joey to digest it all. In total, the competitors ate over 100 pounds of salt potatoes. Yum…yum!