Competitive eaters complete the corned beef challenge

By Rachel Leigh - bio | email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - Ten professional and five amateur eaters competed in the TooJay's World Class Corned Beef Eating Competition at Downtown at the Gardens.

"It's a test of jaw strength and capacity," said professional eater Bryan Beard from Aurora, Colorado. "You chew a lot of bubble gum and drink a lot of water."

Bryan Beard has his work cut out for him as he faces Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champ Joey Chestnut.

Chestnut wasn't planning on becoming a competitive eater. "Well, it wasn't by choice. My bother said, 'You can do this. You have to beat the Japanese guy in hot dogs'. And after that first contest, I knew I could do it. I became addicted."

Right now, the corned beef record stands at 16 1/2. "I at least want to do 17, 18, 19." All in 10 minutes.

But, the competition is stiff as Chestnut is up against Sonya Thomas.

Oysters are Thomas' favorite food to eat competitively. "I've had an oyster record that's 552, that's 46 dozen oysters, in 10 minutes."

But the competitor, who once ate 11 pounds of cheesecake in nine minutes, does limit her eating. "Less than about 20 pounds." Yes, the 100 pound woman can hold 20 pounds of food in her stomach.

But, this time, it wasn't enough. "Let's give it up for Joey Chestnut, said the emcee. "Fifteen and a half TooJay's sandwiches. The winner of the TooJay's Corned Beef Competition."

Chestnut took home $5,000 in cash -- hopefully enough to cover his grocery bill until his next chow down.