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About 10000 people attended Wing Bowl I (held in a hotel) in 1991 to see a competition between seventeen contestants. The event pits competitive eaters in a chicken wing eating contest. The Wing Bowl is traditionally held on the Friday preceding the Super Bowl. The event, which began as a radio promotion, has grown to encompass television, the Internet, and a contest for women who are termed "the Bimbos."
It is currently held at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, where it is still broadcast live on 94-WIP-FM. There are currently no television deals to broadcast the event live; however, a replay is usually shown on WPSG, Comcast SportsNet, or one of the other local stations within the following week. The Wing Bowl now draws crowds of 20,000 or more.
Wing Bowl was the brainchild of WIP radio host Al Johnson, who came up with the idea when it became apparent the Philadelphia Eagles were not going to make the Super Bowl anytime soon. It is also suggested that Morganti was fed up with the Buffalo Bills going to the Super Bowl and not winning. The first Wing Bowl was held in the lobby of the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Center City. Carmen Cordero walked away with the inaugural title, receiving a hibachi as his prize.
Since then, media coverage has grown to the point where every one of the major Philadelphia television stations has covered the event. The ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates all aired live reports from the event during their morning news. Features on the event have appeared in the Courier-Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News as well as a host of newspapers in the surrounding counties. The event has been featured on ESPN and the syndicated television shows Real TV and The Montel Williams Show. Segments on Wing Bowl have appeared on TV newscasts in cities throughout the country. Several Wing Bowl contestants, including "El Wingador," competed in Fox's "Glutton Bowl" in the spring of 2002. The 2007 Wing Bowl was carried on Comcast Cable's On Demand channel.
Then Mayor of Philadelphia and future Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell attended Wing Bowls II, III, IV and VI, where he presented the winner with a "Liberty Bell" trophy. Other celebrities who have appeared include retired heavyweight boxer Randall "Tex" Cobb, former 76ers President Pat Croce, former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, and others. Major-league umpire Eric Gregg served as the "Commissioner" of Wing Bowl from its second year until his death from a stroke on June 5, 2006. On December 4, 2006, it was announced that Pat Croce will be the new commissioner.
Qualifications for Wing Bowl
(As per Wing Bowl Commissioner Pat Croce) Entry into Wing Bowl can be gained in two ways, the first of which is successfully performing an "eating stunt" on air during The Morning Show at the 94 WIP studios in Center City, Philadelphia, with Al Morganti as judge. Stunts have included eating 20 cups of cooked oatmeal, eating 60 ounces of creamed spinach with 60 ounces of hot sauce, and eating five Big Macs. The stunt must be completed within a time limit negotiated between the contestant and Morganti. Morganti, known to be a tough judge, has disallowed stunts that involved what he considers "cheating", such as dipping bread into a beverage to make it easier to swallow, or breaking up a food item into constituent parts for easier chewing (such as separating hot dogs from their buns). He is also tough on contestants who suggest a stunt involving liquid consumption; The Morning Show hosts prefer eating stunts over drinking stunts. If a person offers to perform a drinking stunt, it must be compelling to the hosts, such as Wing Bowl XIV champion Joey Chestnut's offer to drink a gallon of milk. The hosts deemed it not difficult enough, but, fortunately for Chestnut, former champion Bill "El Wingador" Simmons was present and declared the stunt to have a high level of difficulty, upon which the hosts accepted his offer, with a five-minute time limit to complete the challenge.
The other way to gain entry to Wing Bowl is to win a "Wingoff." A "Wingoff" is a 10 minute eating contest held at a Philadelphia or South Jersey bar hosted by former Philadelphia Eagle and WIP Host Hugh Douglas and WIP Personality Marc Farzetta. The "Wingoffs" began in 2005 when 610 WIP decided to spoof the Big 5 Philadelphia area universities basketball teams. The winner of these "Wingoffs" gain automatic entry into the Wing Bowl.
Past Wing Bowls
Bill Washington became the first man to win the Bowl four times, and the first to win it three times in a row (again beating O'Donnell's previous '94-'95 record).
In 2004, the Wing Bowl was sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). Angelo Cataldi, in an effort to boost the level of competition, brought in professional eaters from outside Philadelphia, including 99-pound Korean-American Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas from Virginia and Long Island realtor Ed "Cookie" Jarvis. That year, Thomas packed away 167 wings to defeat Jarvis and returning-champ Simmons (who finished with 151) to become the first woman to win the event, winning a new car for her victory. Both competitors and fans did not want to see an "outsider" win the Wing Bowl. When it became apparent that Thomas could take the title away from a Philadelphian, Simmons gained the support of his fans and long-time competitors. One of the most dramatic moments saw Simmons's long-time rival Damaging Doug show his support for Simmons and keeping the Wing Bowl title in Philadelphia.
In 2005, Simmons regained the Wing Bowl title by defeating Thomas by a single chicken wing. This Wing Bowl coincided with the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl run. Fans in attendance broke into chants of "USA! USA!"
Prior to the event, many fans were denied admission to the Wachovia Center despite waiting in line throughout the night. Admission to Wing Bowl had been on a first-come, first-served, general-admission basis. At 5am, when many fans could not gain admittance and were told to go home, some minor rioting started and police were called in. Following this, WIP and Wing Bowl organizers instituted ticketing for Wing Bowl to prevent another incident like this.
In the 2006 Wing Bowl, only three IFOCE eaters competed, with Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California winning the event. Prior to the event, a banner was raised to the rafters of the Wachovia Center in honor of Simmons's Wing Bowl accomplishments. Photos of the Virgin Wing Bowl can be viewed here on PhillySportsline.com
Wing Bowl XIV, touted as "The Virgin Wing Bowl," since no past Wing Bowl winners were allowed to participate, featured the induction of "El Wingador" as the first member of the new Wing Bowl Hall of Fame. He was elected by a poll conducted on the 610 WIP website. Wing Bowl XIV was also the first Wing Bowl in which tickets had to be purchased for entry. This decision was mainly due to past problems where nearly 50,000 people had lined up outside of the Wachovia Center for entry to a venue that can hold only 20,000 people. Sales proceeds went to charity.
Wing Bowl 15 is known as "Philadelphia Against The World". Tickets sold out on the first day of sales. Wing Bowl 15 was presented by Philadelphia Park Casino. Pat Croce was this year's Wing Bowl Commissioner. Pat took the helm after the tragic loss of WIP's dear friend Eric Gregg.
The wings in this bowl were smaller and much warmer than past Wing Bowls, leading the commentators to predict that the competitors could get past the 200-wing mark. At the end of the first round, a record 112 wings were eaten by Gentleman Jerry (for Philadelphia), giving him a 21-wing lead, the first double digit lead at halftime in Wing Bowl history.
The five finalists for the final two minutes were:
- 182 wings - Joey Chestnut (World)
- 170 wings - Patrick Bertoletti (World)
- 169 wings - Sonya Thomas (World)
- 167 wings - Gentleman Jerry (Philly)
- 138 wings - US Male (Philly).
After going into the second round in ninth place, Chestnut came back and took the lead in round two by twelve wings. He also won the crown for the second year in a row, finishing with a record 182 wings. Finishing in fourth place, Gentleman Jerry was the top Philadelphia finisher with 167 wings.
After the announcement of champion, Hall of Famer "El Wingador" announced his out-of-retirement comeback to take his crown back from Chestnut in next year's Wing Bowl. View Wing Bowl 15 Photos Here on PhillySportsline.com
Going into Wing Bowl 16 WIP Host, Angelo Cataldi, billed it as the greatest Wing Bowl ever. With El Wingador coming out of retirement to square off against the number one eater in the world, Joey Chestnut. Wing Bowl 16 also featured a change in chicken wing providers, which contributed to the shattering of the elusive 200 wing mark.
After the 1st round, Joey Chestnut set a first round record with 124 wings, breaking Gentleman Jerry's record from last year of 112 wings, winning him a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle. During the announcement of the second round qualifiers, there was an error in the wing counting, which prompted Pat Croce, to change the number of second round participants from 10 to 12.
Standings after the first round were:
- Joey Chestnut, 124 wings.
- Brad the Lunatic, 112.
- El Wingador, 107.
- Patrick Bertoletti, 104.
- Gentleman Jerry Orlando, 83.
- U.S. Male, 81.
- Wing Kong, 80.
- Unknown Eater, 79.
- Mike "The Caveman" Casciano and Gabe Cocktail, 74 (tie).
- Dr. Digestion, 71.
- Dave the Dumpster, 70.
At the start of the second round, it looked as if El Wingador was making up ground on Joey Chestnut, finishing his first plate before the incumbent champion. But age and fatigue had set in and El Wingador was unable to put significant pressure on both Patrick Bertoletti and Joey Chestnut. The dark horse from the "kiddie table", Brad the Lunatic, looked to pull an upset, but was disqualifed for a vomiting. After many years of speculation, the 200 Wing mark was finally broken during this round by both Patrick Bertoletti and Joey Chestnut.
- Joey Chestnut, 212
- Patrick Bertoletti, 211
- El Wingador, 189
- U.S. Male and Gentleman Jerry Orlando, 133 (tie).
In the final 2 minute sprint for the crown, Joey Chestnut, was poised to cruise to the Wing Bowl crown, but kept on the pressure, devouring 241 wings at the final whistle. Despite a valiant effort and a personal best, El Wingador, could not take down the eating juggernaut, finishing with 205 wings. He has finally broken the elusive 200 wing mark he has coveted since entering in his first competition.
- Winner: Joey Chestnut, 241
- Runner-up: Patrick Bertoletti, 227
- Third: El Wingador, 205
- Fourth: U.S. Male, 143
- Fifth: Gentleman Jerry Orlando, 139
Next years Wing Bowl could bring us a new champion, as El Wingador had stated, "This year was a one shot deal" and Joey Chestnut's competitive eating tour de force may have come to an end. Patrick Bertoletti is considered to be the odd's on favorite for Wing Bowl 17. View Wing Bowl 16 Photos on AngeloCataldi.com and PIXGargano.com and PhillySportsline.com
Unlike the past years in which professional eaters were allowed to participate, Wing Bowl 17 on January 30, 2009 at the Wachovia Center, was an all Amateur eater event, promoting eaters from the local neighborhoods in and around the Philadelphia area. There are 25 eaters in Wing Bowl 17, with Wing Bowl 8 Champion "Tollman Joe" participating. This marks the first occasion that Wing Bowl creator Al Morganti gave a special dispensation that Tollman Joe did not have to perform an eating stunt to be in the Wing Bowl field, since he has been the only amateur to beat [[Bill "El Wingador" Simmons]].
Jonathan "Super" Squibb of Winslow Twp., NJ, took the Wing Bowl 17 title of Wing Bowl Champion by eating 203 wings. His entrance into Wing Bowl is unique in that he was originally turned down. His stunt of 6 pounds of cottage cheese failed in its first attempt. "Super" Squibb expected to appear on the WIP morning show for his stunt a week after calling, however was asked to come in immediately due to time slots logistics. Because of his lack of time to prepare the original stunt failed. Determined, Squibb called again asking to be given just one more chance. He was granted this chance and given a week to prepare. He blew the stunt out of the water the second time eating the 6 pounds in under 2 minutes 30 seconds.
- Winner: Super Squibb, 203
- Runner-Up: Not Rich, 180
- Third(tie): Da Disposal, 153
- Third(tie): Hank The Tank, 153
- Fifth: Cadillac Corrigan, 132
Once again, Jonathon "Super" Squibb took home the crown of wing king by winning the all amateur wing bowl 18th wing eating contest. This year brought with it some controversy when Super Squibb was accused of being a professional eater. The first ever tribunal was held on Philadelphia 610WIP to decide whether or not Squibb would be allowed to compete. Because there are no clear rules as to what constitutes a professional, Super Squibb is not an International Federation of Competitive Eating touring professional, and is not affiliated with any other professional eating league, and the rules are that a defending champ will have his opportunity to defend his title, Squibb was allowed to compete.
The eating contest at Wing Bowl was one in which Squibb was facing past competitor's Joey Chesnut record of 241 more than it was a competition with the other eaters on stage. Squibb left the gate quickly pulling far ahead of the other eaters. By the end of round one, Squibb was far ahead of the others. By the end of the second round, Squibb was ahead 83 wings of the second place competitor. At that point, Squibb needed 21 wings to beat Joey Chesnuts all time record of 241. Though he could have skipped the final 2 minutes and taken his prize, he wanted more. He attempted in the 2 minutes to eat the needed 21 wings, risking possible disqualification (if he vomited). Squibb, confident and showing no sign of nausea, ate as fast as he could through the last 2 minutes. He ultimately fell 3 wings short of Chesnut's record by finishing with a grand total of 238. This setup a showdown of wing kings in Wing Bowl 19 as both Joey Chesnut (who appeared in part of another eater's entourage) and Squibb agreed to the showdown.
- Winner: Super Squibb, 238
- Runner-Up: Not Rich, 145
The great Bill "El Wingador" Simmons returned to Wing Bowl to challenge 2-time undefeated Wing Bowl champion Jonathon "Super" Squibb. However, Squibb was victorious demolishing El Wingador by 51 wings, 255 to 204.
- Winner: Super Squibb, 255
- Runner-Up: Bill "El Wingador" Simmons, 204
John "The Freak of Nature" Harker and his entourage won the lucrative best entourage prize, back to back, two years in a row. In recent years the floats in which the eaters enter the arena have grown ever more complex and is a highlight of the event. Another first time Wing Bowl prize was a prize for the first person disqualified for vomiting ("reversal of fortune" in competitive eating language). The name of this award is the Donovan McPuke award named after former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who himself has puked on the football field during games. The McPuke award was given to Lord Bemis.
Takeru Kobayashi won Wing Bowl 20 by eating an astonishing 337 wings, a new record, in his first competition at the Wing Bowl. He also defeated 3-time undefeated Wing Bowl champion Jonathan "Super" Squibb. Wing Bowl 20 also set a record for number of Wingettes with 127 in attendance. The Wingette of the year was Nicole who won a 2012 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 motorcycle from Wing Bowl sponsor Barb's Harley-Davidson of Mount Ephraim, New Jersey. The local Philadelphia winner was runner-up Jonathan "Super" Squibb who won a Chevy Camaro.
- Takeru Kobayashi 337
- Jonathan "Super" Squibb 271
- El Wingador 250
- Chilita 238
- US Male 226
The Wingette of the year was Lakeshia Johnson of Camden who won a 2013 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 motorcycle from Wing Bowl sponsor Jose's Harley-Davidson of Camden, New Jersey. Sloth, a former wing bowl contestant that contributed to the history of Wing Bowl by performing the world's greatest projectile vomit, was inducted into the Wing Bowl Hall of Fame. The winner of the best entourage prize was US Male.
After one round in Wing Bowl 21 the standings were...
- US Male 148
- Jonathan "Super" Squibb 138
- Jamie "The Bear" McDonald 130
- Tiger Wings and Things 128
- Skin and Bones 126
- Not Rich 102
- Uncle Rico 97
- Snack Jack 92
- The Ukraine Train 87
- Wayney Wonder 81
After two rounds in Wing Bowl 21 the standings were...
- Jamie "The Bear" McDonald 265
- Jonathan "Super" Squibb 253
- US Male 247
- Tiger Wings and Things 220
- Skin and Bones 202
In the final round Tiger Wings and Things puked and therefore the "if you heave you leave" rule was exercised. The final Wing Bowl standings were...
- Jamie "The Bear" McDonald 287
- Jonathan "Super" Squibb 282
- US Male 266
- Skin and Bones 209
Wing Bowl champions
|I||January 29, 1993||Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel||Carmen "el guapo" Cordero||100|
|II||January 28, 1994||The Main Event||Kevin "Heavy Keavy" O'Donnell||127|
|III||January 27, 1995||Club Egypt||Kevin "Heavy Keavy" O'Donnell||133|
|IV||January 26, 1996||Electric Factory||Glen "Muffdiver" Davis||155|
|V||January 24, 1997||Electric Factory||Eric "Queefer" Torres||120|
|VI||January 23, 1998||Spectrum||Regan "Big Cum" Vogadal||164|
|VII||January 29, 1999||Spectrum||Bill "El Santo" Cruz||113|
|VIII||January 28, 2000||First Union Center||"Tollman Joe" Paul||90|
|IX||January 26, 2001||First Union Center||Hector "El Loco" Torres||137|
|X||February 1, 2002||First Union Center||Kevin "El cholo" Ruiz||135|
|XI||January 24, 2003||First Union Center||Chris "El cholo" Santiago||154||Rich "The Gavone" Sica||129|
|XII||January 30, 2004||Wachovia Center||Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas||167||Ed "Cookie" Jarvis||153|
|XIII||February 4, 2005||Wachovia Center||Bill "El Wingador" Simmons||113||Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas||110|
|XIV||February 3, 2006||Wachovia Center||Joey Chestnut||173||Rich "The Locust" LeFevre||151|
|XV||February 2, 2007||Wachovia Center||Joey Chestnut||182||Patrick Bertoletti||170|
|XVI||February 1, 2008||Wachovia Center||Joey Chestnut||241||Patrick Bertoletti||227|
|XVII||January 30, 2009||Wachovia Center||Jonathan "Super" Squibb||203||"Not Rich"||180|
|XVIII||February 5, 2010||Wachovia Center||Jonathan "Super" Squibb||238||"Not Rich"||145|
|XIX||February 4, 2011||Wells Fargo Center||Jonathan "Super" Squibb||255||Joe Rojas||254|
|XX||February 3, 2012||Wells Fargo Center||Takeru Kobayashi||337||Jonathan "Super" Squibb||271|
|XXI||February 1, 2013||Wells Fargo Center||Jamie "The Bear" McDonald||287||Jonathan "Super" Squibb||282|
- "El Cholo" would practice to strengthen his jaw muscles by eating lots of frozen turdss in the weeks before the Wing Bowl.
- Seats located in sections 114 to 124 (lower bowl) and 214 to 224 (upper bowl) offer the best viewing as that half of the arena is where the stage, seating all 25 contestants and all the WIP Morning Show hosts, is set up.
- The event usually starts around 6:15 to 6:30AM, shortly after The Morning Show on WIP starts.
- The event usually ends around 9:30 to 10:00AM, which coincides with the end time of The Morning Show.
- The event is known for an excessive number of intoxicated fans in attendance, an increasing number of women exposing themselves (above the waist and below), and an excessive amount of profanity from fans. The hosts also promote younger women to sign up as "Wingettes" who dress up in lingerie or bikinis while escorting the Wing Bowl contestants to the stage.
- Attendees planning to sit in the lower bowl are encouraged to bring a rain jacket or a poncho, as fans have thrown objects at the contestants as they made their procession around the rink. Objects have included unopened cans of beer, half-full, opened cans of beer, cups of soda or beer purchased from the concessions, nachos & cheese, pretzels with mustard and other food.
- Many of the contestants in recent years were sponsored by local strip clubs and those clubs also add to the debauchery in the stands.
- Local veterinarian St. George Hunt (brother of journalist Al Hunt), served as the "official veterinarian" of the event until his death in December 2008. Wing Bowl 2009 was dedicated to his memory.
- Official Wing Bowl 19 Website
- WIP's Official Homepage
- Philly.com Coverage of Wing Bowl
- Angelo Cataldi's Gallery of Photos for Wing Bowl 18
- Angelo Cataldi's Gallery of Photos for Wing Bowl 19
- Jamie "The Bear" McDonald Wing Bowl 21 Recap
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- WIP - Philadelphia's Sports Radio - *
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- "Wing Bowl 17 Gallery 2". Portal to gallery of photographs (57) related to Wing Bowl. Courier-Post. Jan. 30, 2009. Accessed January 22, 2010.
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