"There are moments in the history of every nation when the future lies in the balance," says George Shea, president of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, of Wing Bowl 16 which begins in a few short hours. "This is just such a moment."
The fierce face-off between two-time defending champion Joey Chestnut and five-time champ Bill "El Wingador" Simmons, the local favorite who hopes to snatch the Wing Bowl crown from Chestnut's California head has rendered Shea "overwhelmed."
"My ability to contain the contents of my bowel is compromised. I am wearing a diaper to Wing Bowl," says Shea who adds that Wing Bowl 16 is "a critical turning point in our culture. " "The choices made here will determine the fate of all those who call themselves Americans," says the IFOCE boss whose league grants a provisional sanction to the Wing Bowl, but does not oversee the judging.
Of course, making things more dramatic for Shea, Chestnut, and the 20,000 fans who will fill the Wachovia Center starting at 5 a.m., is the news, which we reported exclusively on Wednesday, that win or lose, today's Wing Bowl, will be Chestnut's last.
In Wing Bowl, the only real losers are the chicken, but only one man can win. Will it be Chestnut? Wingador? Or could a new heir to the throne emerge from the pack of 28 other hopefuls? We'll know in just a few hours more. Stay tuned...