Dan Gross: Jersey's 'Super Squibb' bowls 'em over

This year's champ downs 203 wings

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Wing Bowl 17, the latest installment of Philadelphia’s annual chicken wing-eating extravaganza, featured a slate of amateur eaters, a bevy of beautiful Wingettes and a surprise winner. (Photo by Thomas Carroll)

JONATHAN SQUIBB a skinny kid from Camden County, is your new Wing Bowl champion.

"Super Squibb," 23, scarfed down 203 wings, 23 more than Richard "Not Rich" Razzi, who placed second, and 50 more than

the third-place eaters Henry "Hank the Tank" Goldey and Don "Da Disposal" James, chomping his way to glory and winning a new Mini Cooper and a $7,500 diamond ring yesterday morning at the 17th annual wingding, at the Wachovia Center.

Going into the contest - 610 WIP's annual celebration of gluttony, beer and strippers - Squibb, a Winslow Township resident and Rutgers grad, was handicapped at 9-1 odds by WIP's Al Morganti, who is credited with creating Wing Bowl.

"Nobody believed in me but my family, but I knew I could do it," said Squibb, a Wing Bowl newcomer who's "in career transition right now."

What was his secret?

"It's more up here than down here," he told us, pointing first to his brain, then his stomach.

Squibb said he would defend his crown next year at Wing Bowl 18.

"Second place ain't no better than fifth place," said "Not Rich" Razzi after the competition. Razzi, 51, an architect from Schwenksville, was considered a front-runner after knocking out 70 wings in a qualifying event for the contest.

"Damaging Doug" Canavin, who was favored by Morganti to take the crown, was eliminated after the first of three rounds. He argued that WIP's Rhea Hughes announced that he had cleared four plates of 20 wings but that he had only gotten credit for 70 something. "They f- - - me all the time," Canavin said of WIP, "but I'm not gonna complain."

Canavin, of Fishtown, who has made a reputation with the Wing Bowl crew as a whiner, said that even if he had stayed in the contest he would have been no match for Super Squibb's 203 wings.

"Gentleman Jerry" Coughlan, of Clifton Heights,

favored by some to take the crown, didn't get past the first round.

"Arson" Arnie Adkins had a tooth pulled so he could still compete in the Wing Bowl. "I broke a tooth chewing Tootsie Rolls to practice," Adkins said.

His dentist advised he skip the event but said he had to yank the tooth if Adkins insisted on competing. Adkins, an electrician from Sewell, N.J., took a Percocet before the event, and polished off 75 wings.

The wingding featured 27 contestants, several of whom were disqualified from competition after vomiting. Wing Bowl Commissioner Pat Croce strictly enforced the event's "you heave, you leave" policy.

Despite a national shortage of chicken wings, due to several major suppliers going bankrupt, there were 9,000 wings provided for Wing Bowl, said Jim Fris, director of operations for P.J. Whelihan's, the pub chain that secured its wings well in advance.

Wing Bowl 17 was bittersweet for WIP morning host Angelo Cataldi's wife, Gail. Her father, Ade Autenrieth, died this week at 86.

"He loved Wing Bowl. He came every year," Gail told us at the event. "He had a great life." His funeral will be held today. His prayer cards were up on the broadcast table with her husband and crew "so he can still see it," Gail said.

Toastee, from VH1's "Flavor of Love 2" and "I Love Money," served as one of Damaging Doug's Wingette's. Toastee, aka Jennifer Toof of Havertown,says she's working on a dramatic-series pilot for TV and keeping her reality-show options open while taking grad school courses online through Harvard.

Charley Worth, 23, was chosen Wingette of the Year and won a motorcycle from Barb's Harley-Davidson. Worth, a bartender at Paddy Whack's (2nd and South), said she now had to learn how to ride her new hog.

Laurie Halloran of Manayunk served as a Wingette for Brian "Cadillac" Corrigan, who finished fourth. Halloran took the day off from her job as an office manager at a Christian school.

"My co-workers are used to seeing me in pajamas with my hair up," she said. Yesterday she was seen in a sexy school-girl outfit.

Wing Bowl, which debuted in 1993 in the lobby of the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel, now the Sheraton City Center, has come a long way. It sold out the Wachovia Center in an hour, and fans get so excited for the event that some took to using the parking lot's traffic cones as beer funnels.

Philadelphia Police Officer Nate Fulton, of the dignitary- protection unit sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" to kick off the event. Very fitting as ticket proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Department. Fulton also served in the entourage of his fellow officer Richard "Officer Beast" Waertz.

New Orleans Saints lineman Jahri Evans came to the Wing Bowl at the request of a friend.

The Frankford High grad, who also played football at Bloomsburg University and was heading to Tampa last night for the Super Bowl, was glad he waited to leave.

"This was my first Wing Bowl, but it won't be my last. I'll be here every year unless I'm in the Super Bowl," Evans, 25, told us. "I didn't know what to expect. . . . It's crazy!" *

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