Nebraska woman Molly Schuyler pulled off "the greatest performance in Wing Bowl history," blowing past the all-time record of 337 wings as she finished the last round of the 22nd annual WIP 94 Sportsradio Wing Bowl.
The "120-pound mother from Nebraska," as she became known, ripped through 363 wings. Second-place finisher Patrick Bertoletti, a competitive eater from Chicago, finished with a total of 356.
The competition began at 8 a.m. after all 30 contestants marched onto the arena floor of the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.
Perhaps the most famous competitor, Eagles center Jason Kelce, ate 65 wings in the opening round. But that wasn't enough to make the top 10 eaters. That group advanced to the second of three rounds, then the six left standing (as two tied for fifth) competed in a final, two-minute round.
The final totals after Schuyler and Bertoletti were: "Uncle Rico" in sixth with 208 wings (total from three rounds), "U.S. Male" in fifth at 210, top local finisher John "Super" Squibb in fourth at 252, and last year's champ Jamie "The Bear" McDonald in third at 304.
Schuyler, whose performance WIP host Angelo Cataldi dubbed the greatest ever, won $22,000.
Asked by Cataldi what she would do with the money, Schuyler said, "I have car payments and kids, so it's all good."
She said "maybe" when asked if she would return next year to defend her championship.
"Who eats 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes?" Cataldi asked, still mystified by the performance, as the crowd filed out of the arena at about 9 a.m.
The previous record of 337 was established in 2012 by one of the world's best-known competitive eaters Takeru Kobayashi. "The Bear" won last year by eating 287.
After the first round, the 10 eaters moving on were, in ascending order (and their first round wing total): "Qwazy," 92; "Oink Oink," 102; "Skin and Bones," 123; "Uncle Rico," 126; "U.S. Male," 144; "Tigers, Wings, and Things," 146; Squibb, 167; Bertoletto, 170; "The Bear," 172; and Schuyler, 186.
After the second round, the six top eaters were: "Uncle Rico" and "U.S. Male," 208; Squibb, 238; "The Bear," 297; Bertoletti, 318; and Schuyler, 334.
The arena-sized party commenced at 6 a.m. when WIP host Angelo Cataldi took the air.
Favorites Bertoletti, Schuyler and McDonald chomped at a furious pace through the first round.
At least one of the eaters was quickly disqualified for breaking the number one rule: "If you heave, you leave."
The winner for best entourage was competitor "Wingatron." His group won six two-person vacations.
"I am picking Patrick Bertoletti," Cataldi said shortly after taking the air, making his prediction for a winner as the professional eater from Chicago as known as "Deep Dish." "[Eagles center and competitor] Jason Kelce is making a quick 14-minute appearance here."
He alluded to the first round of the event, which was 14 minutes for all 30 eaters. The top 10 from the first round then moved on to a second 14-minute round, followed by the top five wing eaters competing in the final two-minute round.
The large contingents from Philadelphia's universities filled the arena's backstage with chants. Cataldi said it's the first time all Big Five schools were represented. An adult movie starlet spoke over the loudspeakers before the entourages of competing eaters began touring the arena floor.
Several eaters and their groups began marching around the stage at 6:30. Cataldi quickly started ripping them.
"What I'm seeing here is that they are better at coming up with ideas than implementing them," he told co-host and Wing Bowl creator Al Morganti.
"That's what I'm seeing," Morganti said as an eater known as "Oink Oink" emerged with his groupies.
Also emerging are eaters like "The Budda," the "Polish Hammer" and the "Polish Punisher."
And then there are the front runners in the Wing Bowl, who chose to take a more serious tact: no nicknames necessary.
Earlier in the week, Morganti gave odds for all 30 competitors in Philadelphia's most famous competitive eating affair being held this morning at the Wells Fargo Center.
The favorites, both at 2-to-1 odds: Schuyler and Bertoletti.
Last year's winner, "The Bear," is the third favorite at 4-to-1 and former three-time champion James "Super" Squibb is after him at 5-to-1.
Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or email@example.com. Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.