By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s always a slight awe in the eyes for the newcomers. They’re dazzled by the immense crowd at such an early time of the morning, taken aback by the clinging confetti in cleavage, the frothing crowd chanting, “Show us your …” and flying debris that can include everything from a sandwich roll to a toupee.
But Molly Schuyler wasn’t fazed by anything. The only thing that bothered the tattooed Midwest mother of four was the chill that coursed through the back corridors of the Wells Fargo Center Friday morning.
Otherwise, Schuyler treated Wing Bowl 22 like any other eating contest she’s devoured, vanquishing the field, which included NFL players, bodybuilders and former Wing Bowl champions.
Schuyler ripped through a Wing Bowl-record 363 wings, smashing the previous mark of 337 held by international eating star Takeru Kobayashi at Wing Bowl 20, in 2012.
PHOTOS: The Eaters Of Wing Bowl 22
Pat Bertoletti finished second with 356, Wing Bowl 21 champ Jamie “The Bear” McDonald took third with 304 and Jon “Super” Squibb came in fourth with 252, winning the local eater level.
No one had a shot at Schuyler. She polished off 186 wings in the 14-minute first round, was just three shy of Kobayashi’s mark after the second 14-minute round and ate another 29 wings in the final two-minute speed round leaving everyone in her wake.
Schuyler became the second woman to win Wing Bowl, joining Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, who won Wing Bowl 12 in 2004 with 167 wings.
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t even think I was going to win this, I was looking and hoping to finish in the top three,” said Schuyler, who was going to catch a flight to Des Moines, Iowa Friday afternoon to compete in the IHOP Pancake Bowl I Saturday, then attempt to defend her title later Saturday afternoon at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.
To call Schuyler an eating machine wouldn’t be just. How she rowed through the food was astounding. She chewed through the wings like mowing down corn on the cob.
“I think I could eat some more,” kidded Schuyler, the Wing Bowl 22 crown skewed on her head. “This was freaking crazy. I kept eating and I kept saying I didn’t want to know how many wings I ate until the end. I just wanted to focus on what I was doing. But I don’t think I want to eat another chicken wing for a while. Hopefully I’ll be back next year.”
PHOTOS: Molly Schuyler Eats
Sebastian Jablowski, the “Polish Punisher,” won a Chrysler 200 by taking the college portion by downing 78 wings.
Some of the floats arrived with imaginative flair. One float was a chicken coop made of actual chicken wire that had a woman heavily clad in facial makeup choking a rubber chicken.
Perhaps the best Philadelphia-sports themed float was done by Dave Goldstein, US Male, who came in riding a Phillies’ themed float, calling himself “Ruin Tamaro.” In front of him was a geriatric group in walkers and power scooters, poking a little fun at the advanced age of the current Phillies.
The biggest applause was garnered by Eagles’ center Jason Kelce, who apparently was serious about competing in Wing Bowl 22. Kelce arrived in an Eagles’ car, and in the back was Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly.
As Kelly walked through the staging menagerie, amid a row of double takes as he passed, one woman from a football float screamed, “Chip Kelly, you’re so hot!” Kelly laughed and shook his head. He made sure to extend a hand to everyone who recognized him. While others just gawked, viewing him like a sage.
After one round, Kelce, with spots of hot sauce dotting his face, acquiesced after eating 65 wings.
“The hardest part was the speed,” Kelce said. “I’m not used to eating like this this early in the morning. I’m usually eating eggs and bacon. But this was awesome. It was a great experience. But the speed got me. I’m usually not a fast eater, and I know I could have gone another 14 minutes eating. But the speed factor was killing me. I’ve never seen anyone eat as fast as these people. It’s amazing.”
Phillies 2008 hero Matt Stairs was greeted affectionately with a huge cheer as the jumbotron showed Stairs’ magical two-run homer in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Then Stairs smashed two cans of beer together, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin style, and downed them.
Where else can you see that at 7:30 in the morning?
For all pictures, video, and information from Wing Bowl, visit WingBowl22.com.