PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pat Bertoletti, hot sauce smeared across his face and a look of serious ingestion no doubt churning his insides, felt compelled to lift his t-shirt and show off some semblance of a six pack below the layers of a new Wing Bowl record 444 wings he devoured Friday to become the upset winner of Wing Bowl 23.
Bertoletti came from six wings down in the final two-minute speed round to unseat defending Wing Bowl champion Molly Schuyler, who finished with an equally impressive 440 wings.
“I’m full, I want ice cream or beer, or something else, I’m full of chicken wings,” Bertoletti said afterwards. “I own a restaurant so I’ve been cooking wings at the restaurant all week. I ate about 300 in my last practice. I knew I was going to hit 400. I didn’t know how many I ate today, it’s crazy. I almost lost it a couple of times. The second round was very tough, I knew I was behind and I had to pull it off in some way. The wings were very small, so I stripped the meat off with my hands. That seemed to be very efficient and fast. I’m glad to take it home. I came close before. This is the best day of my life, other than opening a restaurant and my niece being born. Somebody give me a drink.”
After the second 14-minute round, it looked as if Schuyler would repeat. She had 399 wings to Bertoletti’s 393. Schuyler, the skinny, Midwest tattooed mother of four who once inhaled a world record 12 pounds of pudding in three minutes, was 20 wings ahead of last year’s pace after the first round, with 206. But Bertoletti banged down 208.
There was a sense then that an upset was lurking.
As for everyone else, Schuyler and Bertoletti’s vapor trail left everyone else in their wake. Rounding out the top five after the first round was Bob “The Notorious B.O.B.” Shoudt, from Royersford, who had 138, followed by David “Tiger Wings & Things” Brunelli, a former professional boxer, who finished 136 and Tim “Gravy Brown” Brown, a professional eater from Chicago, who was fifth with 131.
Pro wrestling legend Mick Foley flamed out early. But he enjoyed the unique experience.
“It was surreal to see a parking lot full at 6:45 AM and come in here and see these massive entourages, and then you realize you’re up against people who actually do this, and are actually really good at this,” Foley said. “You get a top-notch rendition of the national anthem, and I was right up there next to Molly Schuyler, who is right up there in the world of eating. She ate over 300 of these things last year and I’m the guy that polishes off 24 at a party. I was a little out of my league.
“In pro wrestling, I never had to worry about vomiting on live national television. That became a major concern here, so I thought the signified way out was to cheat, and get caught doing so. I did and I’m happy about that, but I have to say it was a great experience.”
Shoudt was the top local eater, finishing a distant third with 289 wings.
GALLERY: Wing Bowl 23