In a shocking development, the 30th and final contestant qualified for WIP's Wing Bowl this morning by eating wings.
That's right, no quesadillas, dog food, Krispie Kremes, miniature marshmallows, maple syrup or Spaghetti-O's.
By choking down 16 large wings in five minutes, Tom "Wolfman" Wolf won a wing-off, earning the right to drool sauce all over himself while being oblivious to cleavage bobbing about his ears, amid the lusty yelling of thousands with nothing better to do on a Friday morning.
Ah, welcome to Wing Bowl, the city's wildest, most tongue-in-cheeky extravaganza of excessiveness since, well, the Mummers Parade mere weeks before.
The Wachovia Center will open its doors for the sold-out Feb. 1 event at 6 a.m. (Tickets can still be obtained through resellers such as StubHub.com.)
Today's Wing-Off in the WIP studios began with a highly technical discussion of illegal use of the hands.
Yes, eaters could loosen the flesh, but not remove it and pile it on their plates.
Wolfman defeated John "The Freak of Nature" Harker, who ate 13 wings, and Brian the Kid, a.k.a. "Mook," who nibbled away 10.
"Old ladies with no teeth eat faster than that," said invited commentator Damaging Doug, the 29th eater to qualify.
"You should know," cracked cohost Al Morganti.
This year's Wing Bowl field includes four nationally ranked out-of-towners: two-time champ Joey Chestnut, Patrick Bertoletti, Brad Scuillo and Erik "The Red" Denmark.
Past winner Sonja "The Black Widow" Thomas never contacted WIP about competing this year, according to producer Joe Weachter.
The local favorite is five-time champ Bill "El Wingador" Simmons.
Morganti will disclose the official Wing Bowl odds on Tuesday's show, Cataldi said.
According to haphazard calculations, here is a not-quite-complete cast of characters, including some of their qualifying eating stunts:
Dave "U.S. Male" Goldstein (4 pounds of Sloppy Joes in four minutes, plus a can of dog food)
"Dr. Digestion" ("12 days of gluttony," including 12 doughnuts, in 16 minutes)
"El Zorro" (plate of quesadillas in 3:30)
"The Unknown Eater" (4 hoagies in 12 minutes)
Wally Yousef (4 pounds of burrito in 15 minutes)
"The Bulldog" (50 meatballs in 60 seconds)
"Dr. Bigtime" (12 Krispy Kremes in 90 seconds)
"Humble Bob" (53 eggs in 15 minutes)
"Dave the Dumpster" (610 mini marshmallows in 3:59)
"The Natural" (5 lbs. of peanut butter)
Jerry Bufone (3 Subway chicken teriyaki hoagies in 8 minutes)
"Steak Belly" (entire McDonald's Dollar Menu in 5:30)
"Wing Kong" (5 lbs. of Spaghetti-O's in under 90 seconds)
"Dan the Cop" (20 oz. of maple syrup in 10 seconds)
"Boring John" (2 lbs. of pierogies in 3 minutes)
Gabe O'Brien (3-1/2 lbs. of shrimp cocktail in 4:30)
Eric "The Unfit Fitter" Wheeler (5 lbs. of Scrapple in 3 minutes)
"Gentleman" Jerry Caughlin
"Obi Wing" (3 melons)
To view videos of some of these stunts, face-stuffing failures and Wingette auditions, go to http://www.philly.com/wingbowl.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.