For most audiences, an Academy Award-nominated actor taking the stage would command undivided attention. The Wing Bowl crowd is a different sort. It’s an audience preoccupied with the prospect of seeing a topless woman at any given second. With the opportunities so plentiful, who could blame them?
Actor Chazz Palminteri, celebrated for his work in “A Bronx Tale,” “The Usual Suspects,” and “Bullets Over Broadway” joined WIP’s Angelo Cataldi on stage for a radio segment and received a nice applause from the crowd. But for an audience of diehard sports fans and lustful brutes, the biggest cheers were reserved for local athletes, a hometown centerfold, and any woman willing to lift her shirt.
Wing Bowl is a competition, but it’s far from a sporting event. The seats of the Wells Fargo Center were filled not by fans joined by a competitive spirit, but those expecting a particular brand of entertainment that would struggle to maintain an R-rating. It’s Mardi Gras, Twelfth Night, and Bacchanalia all rolled into one.
Social norms are flipped upside down as professional athletes are lauded for eating and drinking in excess, concupiscent women encourage behavior that’s borderline criminal elsewhere, and a 120 lb. mother of four from Omaha, Nebraska can beat a pool of hulking men in an eating contest.
Molly Schuyler, who chomped her way to victory with a record-breaking 363 wings, put on a hell of a show on her way to becoming an unlikely heroine. She was able to fend off a 356 wing performance from Bertoletti, who despite passing the Kobayashi’s previous record of 337, was forced to played Sammy Sosa to Schuyler’s Mark McGwire.
Among the most celebrated guests were the city’s local sports heroes. Chief among them was Eagles center Jason Kelce. Already a fan favorite, the center further endeared himself to fans by participating as a competitive eater. Kelce sported a trimmed beard to allow for easier eating, and made his entrance in an Eagles helmet-domed cart to a thunderous “E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES” chant.
Former Phillie Matt Stairs guzzled two beer cans at once to the cheering delight of fans, and Eagles long-snapper/magician/Wing Bowl commissioner made a dramatic entrance with a few tricks— and a dove—up his sleeve.
Northeast Philly's own playmate and Miss August 2013 Val Keil arrived on a Playboy bunny float, but the woman famous for baring it all showed considerably less skin than most of the wingettes parading through the arena. Keil wore conservative leather overalls and never hinted at showing more.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown made an early appearance and pleaded with the crowd to stick around for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. The usually dapper Brown adopted a blue collar look with a black jacket over a white hoodie with coffee in hand.
Other special guests included Flyers Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent, and CBS3’s Beasley Reece, who surprised some in attendance with a powerful national anthem performance.
The event featured some creative parade floats that recalled Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” video, the Swiss Cheese Pervert, and a creative “Ruin Tamaro Jr.” effort that mocked the Phillies general manager for throwing money at aging veterans.
And then of course, there were boobs. There was also lots of twerking and the occasional devouring of chicken wings. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, the flashing (which grew more common throughout the day as drinks flowed) was the main attraction. Thanks to the participation of some older and unexpected exhibitionists, the oglers got more than their fill.