Monday, September 6, 2010
Winging It In Buffalo
Va. woman devours 181 chicken wings in NY contest
Sep 05 2010
CRISTIAN SALAZAR - Associated Press Writer and an unidentified co-author
(AP Photo/National Buffalo Wing Festival, Brian Kahle)
In this photo provided by National Buffalo Wing Festival, Joey Chestnut, left, competes with Sonya Thomas, center, at 2010 Wing Fest in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010. Thomas, The Black Widow of eating contests gobbled up nearly 181 chicken wings in 12 minutes, devouring the national championship record.
NEW YORK — In an incredible display of gluttony, Sonya Thomas, The Black Widow of eating contests gobbled up nearly 181 chicken wings in 12 minutes, devouring the national championship record in Buffalo on Sunday.
The diminutive Ms. Thomas, who stands only 5 ft. tall and weighs 105 pounds, has a habit of knocking off much larger men in eating contests. Thomas bested world eating sensation, Joey Chestnut, by eating 4.86 pounds of wings in 12 minutes to win the contest at the ninth annual National Buffalo Wing Festival.
Buffalo, about 300 miles northwest of New York, is said to be the birthplace of the wings, typically fried and covered in tangy vinegar and hot sauce.
Chestnut, America's No. 1 professional eater, was favored to win Sunday's competition. He came in second after eating 169 chicken wings, or 4.55 pounds.
This was the first time Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., and Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., faced off in a chicken wing eating contest. They went at it "neck and neck," said Drew Cerza, the founder of the festival, which was inspired by the 2001 Bill Murray comedy "Osmosis Jones," about a compulsive eater.
"They pushed each other really hard," Cerza said. "Joey is so strong. He's got great jaw strength. But Sonya's so fast with the hand."
Thomas, who calls herself the Black Widow because she often defeats bigger male competitors _ Chestnut is 6-foot-2 and weights 230 pounds _ in eating contests. She set the previous wings record in 2005, when she ate 174 in 12 minutes.
She also holds eating records for oysters, hard-boiled eggs, cheesecake and jalapeno peppers. She won her first competitive eating event in 2003.
During the public contest, in front of thousands of people, Thomas twirled the wings in her small fingers while quickly tearing off the meat with her teeth and lips.
Her cheeks were covered in a sheen of orange Buffalo sauce by the end.
But she said she was still hungry afterward, calling the wings "an appetizer." About an hour later, she made a guest appearance in the Ridiculously Hot Buffalo Wing Eating Contest and ate 20 more wings.