Maybe I'll make the two hour trip to Jacksonville today to witness this Roman gorgefest
sponsored by Krystal. They've got a countdown to the final big event in Chattanooga on their website, a fantasy eating league, competitive eater profiles and more. The Jacksonville eat-off is only a qualifying contest. I can't even begin to imagine the disappointment of making it to the qualifying rounds only to be beaten out by "highly-ranked Tim Brown," or "a group of Florida-based eaters including newcomer Elizabeth 'Rubber Gut' Canady".
This is considered a sport, and the official sponsors of Krystal's burger eating contest include Sheraton. Krystal will set aside $35,000 for the top 14 eaters. The winner of the Chattanooga gluttony contest not only gets $10,000, but also walks away with the "coveted Krystal Square Off World Champion's Belt and the Champion's Trophy made out of crystal." Last year's winner ate 97 Krystal burgers in 8 minutes.
This is just one of many
competitive eating events taking place every year, mostly here in the United States. Visit the International Federation of Competitive Eating
to find out what events are taking place in your area. Apparently, getting your pork-out event "sanctioned" by the IFOCE is a big deal, and the Krystal event is "the only sanctioned hamburger eating contest in the world." (If you take the time to view the video on the homepage of IFOCE's site, be prepared to be sickened. The IFOCE doesn't seem to care that a good portion of the clips they include in their highlight reel are of people like Jon Stewart mocking them. Any press is good press for Richard Shea, apparently the founder of this thing, whose face you will see throughout that highlight reel.)
Not sick yet? Wander on over to the Major League Eating site
, an apparent sister organization to the IFOCE, calling itself a "sports franchise that oversees all professional competitive eating events and competitive eating television specials."
Of course pie eating contests or hot dog eating contests at State Fairs and the like have been around for a long time, but now the spectacle of a bunch of people chowing down to excess is deemed "sport." Obviously there's big money in this, and obviously there are fans and sponsors, federations, even fantasy leagues, but forgive me if I find something very, very wrong about all of this. We're talking waste, gluttony, and gorging on a scale unmatched by the most debauched of History's societies. And it's sponsored by huge companies like Pizza Hut and Krystal in the interest of selling more pizza and burgers.
Realizing the inherent PR problem of this "sport," the IFOCE has set up ifoceGIVES
, which gives money to hunger related causes. Nice try, Richard, but too little, too late, and completely transparent. You make huge money celebrating and promoting gluttony and then you pretend to care about the hungry? How can I put this mildly, Richard? "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting."
I suggest that any company involved in these contests is not worth patronizing, to include Krystal, Pizza Hut, Heinz, Nathan's, Sheraton and especially the IFOCE.
Here's a better food idea. Click the burger.
Previously in Gluttonous America:Jack Bauer Never Eats
Labels: competitive eating, Heinz, IFOCE, Krystal, Nathan's, Pizza Hut, Richard Shea, Sheraton