By: Alex Gary
Published Feb 10, 2011 – Rockford Register Star
LOVES PARK — It turns out I’m a food marathoner and not a sprinter.
For my fourth “I’ll Eat That” challenge, I entered Casey’s Pub’s pizza-eating contest on Jan. 26. Owner Nick Fosberg gave 19 people, including me, a chance to win a trip for two to the Bahamas as a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The person who could wolf down a medium cheese pizza, donated by Napoli’s, in the shortest amount of time would be the winner.
Considering I’d managed to stuff myself with about 3½ pounds of hamburger and fries in my last eating challenge, I was fairly confident.
It was harder than it looked.
I was in the first group of five eaters, and I made it through the first three pieces in no time. But then chewing the cheese became like eating taffy, and forcing the crust down my throat was similar to swallowing sandpaper. Seriously, pizza no longer tastes that good at about … six pieces.
For this challenge, I brought my daughters to cheer me on and instead got heckled. My two favorites:
“Quit looking around, and chew.”
“You’re slower than a snail.”
I had finished seven pieces and was halfway done with the eighth piece when the guy next to me, Jeff Wilcox of Belvidere, finished. He was hard core, downing each piece with swigs of water and folding the pieces over like sandwiches. Wilcox finished it off in about 5½ minutes, and I was the next closest — so I didn’t feel too badly.
Then Mark Eltman in the next group finished a full pizza in 4 minutes 22 seconds — or about 32.8 seconds per piece. I admit it: I am not worthy.