By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—Jon Squibb has been through this before. He sees the odds. He knows there’s doubts. Even if he is a three-time Wing Bowl champion.
At the weigh-in for Wing Bowl 22 Thursday night at Chickie & Pete’s in South Philadelphia, the area’s best hope wore the same placid expression he has always had before fooling his body into doing something highly abnormal.
Squibb, winner of Wing Bowls 17, 18 and 19, will be facing a stacked deck featuring professional eaters Molly Schuyler, Patrick Bertoletti and defending Wing Bowl 21 champ Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, who ate 287 wings last year and who this year is aiming at Takeru Kobayashi’s all-time Wing Bowl-record 337 wings he devoured at Wing Bowl 20 in 2012.
What can’t be ignored is that Squibb has improved each year he has competed (203 in 2009, 238 in 2010, 271 in 2012 and 282 last year).
Yet, according to the Wing Bowl odds (which are listed below), Squibb is fourth, a 5-to-1 favorite, behind Schuyler (2-to-1), Bertoletti (2-1) and McDonald (4-1). Squibb is a clear-cut favorite to win the local level. But he doesn’t want to hear that.
“Seeing the odds motivates me even more and the big thing will be to prove people wrong again,” said Squibb, an account by day with a graduate degree in business from Rutgers. “I want to walk away a winner. This is all fuels the underdog mentality.
“At the end of the day, I’m aiming to be the top eater. That’s my main goal. I feel a little disrespected and I would be lying to say that I wasn’t. The goal is to get better and I always pushed myself internally. My focus is to do better than last year. People think it’s a speed-eating contest. This is actually a combination of both speed and endurance. You have to be able to blend and adjust. I’m ready. I’m pumped up. I can’t wait. There’s a lot of different emotions flying around.”
Molly Schuyler: 2-1
Patrick Bertoletti: 2-1
The Bear: 4-1
Super Squibb: 5-1 (1-2 local)
US Male: 15-1 (3-1 local)
Tiger Wings & Things: 17-1 (5-1 local)
Skin & Bones: 20-1 (5-1 local)
Ukraine Train: 25-1 (7-1 local)
South Jersey Keith: 30-1 (8-1 local)
Uncle Rico: 30-1 (8-1 local)
Birdtrain: 35-1 (10-1 local)
Qwazy: 50-1 (12-1 local)
Mo-Train: 60-1 (12-1 local)
Bam Bam Wingelow: 65-1 (15-1 local)
Top Wing: 70-1 (15-1 local)
Iceman: 75-1 (20-1 local)
The Buddha: 100-1 (25-1 local)
Oink Oink: 100-1 (25-1 local)
Pitbull Pino: 150-1 (30-1 local)
Big Z (Temple): 200-1 (3-1 college, 35-1 local)
Polish Punisher (Penn): 225-1 (4-1 college, 35-1 local)
Ginger Wings (St. Joseph’s): 230-1 (5-1 college, 40-1 local)
Boone The Butcher (Bucks County Community College) – 240-1 (10-1 college, 40-1 local)
Pep-Pep (La Salle): 250-1 (10-1 college, 45-1 local)
Chicken Legs (Villanova): 250-1 (15-1 college, 45-1 local)
Bird Man: 275-1 (75-1 local)
Mann Of Pie: 300-1 (100-1 local)
Polish Hammer: 500-1 (500-1 local)
Cowboy Mike: Infinity-1 (Infinity-1 local)
First round: 30 eaters-14 minutes.
Second round: Top 10 eaters advance for 14 minutes.
Final round: Top five eaters advance in a speed-eating two- minute round.
First place: $22,000
First place local winner: Chrysler 200
First place college winner: Chrysler 200
Wingette of the Year: Harley Davidson 883 Sportster
Second Place Wingette: Steven Singer $750 jewelry piece
Third Place Wingette: Steven Singer $500 jewelry piece
Best Entourage: Six trips for two to Occidental Grand Punta Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and hot tub for the competitor
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.