LAKE TWP. Visitors to the Fall in the ‘Ville had a surprise waiting for them at the PizzaBOGO inaugural pizza eating contest. The fourth-ranked competitive eater in the world, Dan Kennedy, come to compete and to win.
In 2018 competitions alone, Kennedy has eaten 50 dumplings in two minutes, 22 burgers in eight minutes and 26 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Many of the eating contests include cash prizes like the PizzaBOGO contest held in Hartville on Oct. 6.
He won eating four full 12-inch pepperoni pizzas plus two slices of a fifth pizza. The world record is five 12-inch pizzas in 10 minutes. The cash award was $500 and he also received a $200 PizzaBOGO gift card.
Local PizzaBOGO owner Mike Eggert hosted the contest during the fall event in downtown Hartville for two reasons, to raise money for the local FISH food pantry and to have fun.
"I wanted to have a fun event for everyone today and we are hoping to make it an annual event," Eggert said. "We have J.T. Teis here to provide live music, we’re offering first and second prizes for the winners and raising money for a local charity."
It started to rain just before the contest started at noon. Plus, there were plenty of bees making their rounds from person to person and pizza to pizza. Those challenges didn’t stop the pizza eating challengers from their task.
There were 11 contestants starting the morning but only 10 ended up at the table. Most were local residents with a few coming from out of town. Many were first time eating contestants and some, like Kennedy, were highly experienced.
Each contestant started out with two 12-inch pepperoni pizzas and a couple of bottles of water. Eggert gave the signal to begin and kept the time clock for the ten minutes.
"All of you may notice some of the contestants are standing and others are sitting down," Eggert said. "In the food eating contest videos I’ve viewed online, most of the winners were standing when eating."
The crowd was originally standing back away from the contestant table but people slowly made their way in closer to see the eaters trying their best to eat as much pizza as possible. In the end, nobody got sick and everyone said it the pizza tasted great and that they had a lot of fun.
The contest was part of a day of fall fun hosted by the merchants in downtown Hartville. Many of the stores and eateries were hosting open houses and sidewalk sales with special pricing.