Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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Hooters wing contest brings in competitive eating stars

About 200 chicken wings in 10 minutes. That's the average amount a competitive eater will shovel into his gob for competition, and some of the rock stars of this "sport" will be at the original Hooters in Clearwater on July 26 scarfing down chicken wings.

This will be the first Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship, and it's bringing in some of the biggest names in the competitive eating world for an event sponsored by Major League Eating (it's a real thing).

Petite Sonya Thomas, a slip of a woman at 100 pounds, ate 140 chicken wings in April to win the Hooters qualifier in Augusta, Ga. The 5-foot-5 super eater is nicknamed "The Black Widow" because of her ability to defeat men three times her size.

Some of the other names well-known to those who watch the famous Nathan's hot dog eating contest every July 4 who will face off in Clearwater include:

• Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who achieved legendary status by knocking off six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi in 2007 in the Nathan's contest.

• Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, who set a Louisiana state record by eating 39 dozen (468 individual) oysters in eight minutes.

• Crazy Legs Conti, sporting his trademark dreadlocks, was the subject of a 2004 documentary Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating.

• Micah "Wing Kong" Collins is a chicken wing specialist, though he has won other competitive eating contests. He won the Atlanta Hooters qualifier in June with 122 wings.

The public is invited to watch the contest Thursday at the original Hooters, 2800 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater. The party in the parking lot starts at 6 p.m. with live music by the Black Honkeys. The contest begins at 7 p.m.

The professional eaters, all of whom were winners in a prior regional contest, are expected to down an average of 200 wings in 10 minutes, said a news release from MLE, the world governing body of all stomach-centric sports.

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