Even the sun feared the competitive eaters at the “Ribmania” rib eating contest at Ribfest Friday night.
As the seven gastro gladiators took the stage, the temperature dropped, the sky clouded over and a light mist filled Lincoln Ave. From the foggy air, surfaced seven competitive eaters from across the country; ready to down as many baby back ribs as they could in 8 min.
After WWE-like introductions and a brief reminder to sign a waiver, the eaters took their places for the Major League Eating-sponsored event.
Reigning champ from last year, Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti took the stage carrying a the head of a cooked pig. With more calm than a man carrying a body-less pig should have, he kissed it and set it on the table.
47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar was on hand and said he was looking forward to seeing the “debauchery” on stage. Pawar said he as rooting for North Sider Tim “Gravy” Brown, who came in 4th place at last year’s rib eating contestant.
The ribs, provided by Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, proved no match for the jaws of the contestants. Like landscaping tools, the seven men set to work. The crowd was at a fever-pitch and in flurry of meat, sauce and ego, the bones began to pile up.
In the end, the winner devoured a full pound and a half more than the 2nd place finisher.
3rd Place went to Eric “The Red” Denmark from Seattle, who ate 3.44 lbs of ribs. The 2nd place title and $600 dollars went to “Gravy” Brown, for downing 3.64 lbs. “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, hailing from the South Side, successfully defended his title by eating a whopping 5.24 lbs of ribs.
When asked how he felt afterwards, he replied, with BBQ sauce dangling from his earlobe, “I feel great. They we’re delicious. I’m not even full.”