The 22nd annual 94 WIP Sportsradio Wing Bowl kicks off in just a few hours, with festivities set to begin at about 6 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
For those unable to attend the city's premier eating competition/morning arena party, Philly.com is hosting a live chat just feet from the wing carnage in South Philadelphia. Philly.com bloggers will also be posting from the stands and behind the scenes.
The following is a primer to the 30 eaters, their odds of winning, what the prizes for competitors, Wingettes and entourages are and rules for the three round event.
There are competitors named "Oink Oink" and "The Budda," the "Polish Hammer" and the "Polish Punisher."
And then there are the front runners in the 22nd annual 94 WIP SportsRadio Wing Bowl and they have chosen to take a more serious tact: no nicknames necessary.
WIP morning-show cohost and Wing Bowl inventor Al Morganti has given 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: a tiny Nebraska woman named Molly Schuyler and a ringer of sorts, competitive eater Patrick Bertoletti from Chicago.
Last year's winner, Jamie "The Bear" McDonald, is the third favorite at 4-to-1 and former three-time champion James "Super" Squibb is after him at 5-to-1.
Odds drop off considerably after those four contestants, but at 15-to-1, the eater nicknamed Dave "U.S. Male" Goldstein is an intriguing bet. An annual also-ran, he has improved the number of wings eaten almost every year he's competed.
WIP radio host and Wing Bowl co-founder Angelo Cataldi this week seemed to like Goldstein as a darkhorse this year while discussing Morganti's oddsmaking during their morning show this week.
Cataldi questioned the fifth-place ranking of Goldstein, who finished third last year, eating 266 wings.
Morganti initially referred to Goldstein as "us male."
"You have really disrespected the local eaters," Cataldi said.
"Yeah," said Morganti.
"Such a jackass," muttered Cataldi.
"You do realize he did this at the last second?" said co-host Rhea Hughes.
Morganti likened it to doing homework for school: If it's due at 8:05, what's wrong with starting at 8 o'clock?
"You have blown off this assignment," Cataldi said, busting his chops.
As the last competitor to win a spot, Eagles center Jason Kelce — who qualified this week — is 75-to-1 to win the whole contest and 25-to-1 to finish first among the local eaters participating.
Bertoletti, who is known on the national competitive eating stage as "Deep Dish," has competed before in the Wing Bowl. He came in second twice in 2008 and 2009, losing to legendary eater Joey Chestnut both times.
But while his highest total is 227 (in 2009), his eating feat to qualify for this year's event impressed Morganti.
Bertoletti ate 17 cheesesteaks in 35 minutes at Jim's Steaks to easily qualify. "Did that affect your oddsmaking?" Cataldi asked.
"It did," Morganti said. "… I'm saying if Bertoletti and Molly [Schuyler] had both gone into Jim's, Jim's wouldn't be open right now."
The winner is determined by the cumulative total of wings eaten in all three rounds. See the Wing Bowl's wikipedia page for some of the all-time highest totals.
For Wingettes and the eaters' entourages:
Molly Schuyler – 2-1
Patrick Bertoletti – 2-1
The Bear – 4-1
Super Squibb – 5-1 (1-2)
US Male – 15-1 (3-1)
Tiger Wings & Things – 17-1 (5-1)
Skin & Bones – 20-1 (5-1)
Ukraine Train – 25-1 (7-1)
South Jersey Keith – 30-1 (8-1)
Uncle Rico – 30-1 (8-1)
Birdtrain – 35-1 (10-1)
Qwazy – 50-1 (12-1)
Mo-Train – 60-1 (12-1)
Bam Bam Wingelow – 65-1 (15-1)
Top Wing – 70-1 (15-1)
Iceman – 75-1 (20-1)
The Buddha – 100-1 (25-1)
Oink Oink – 100-1 (25-1)
Pitbull Pino – 150-1 (30-1)
Big Z (Temple University) – 200-1 (35-1, 3-1 College Odds)
Polish Punisher (University Of Pennsylvania) – 225-1 (35-1, 4-1 College Odds)
Ginger Wings (St. Joseph's) – 230-1 (40-1, 5-1 College Odds)
Boone The Butcher (Bucks County Community College) – 240-1 (40-1 ,10-1 College Odds)
Pep-Pep (La Salle University) – 250-1 (45-1, 10-1 College Odds)
Chicken Legs (Villanova University) – 250-1 (45-1, 15-1 College Odds)
Bird Man – 275-1 (75-1)
Mann Of Pie – 300-1 (100-1)
Polish Hammer – 500-1 (500-1)
Cowboy Mike – Infinity-1 (Infinity-1)