While the International Bar-B-Q Festival is all about trying amazing local bar-b-q, the real show Saturday was focused on how much one could eat and how fast.
 
It’s a talent many don’t have, or at least don’t know they have. Competitive eating.
 
The 2nd Annual World Mutton Sandwich Eating Championship was held Saturday at the International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro.
 
Eleven men and one woman gave it their all for ten minutes. Eating as many quarter pound mutton sandwiches as they can in ten minutes.
 
“They go into the contest not only with the physical skills but a mental readiness and really push themselves,” said Major League Eating Emcee Sam Barclay.
 
One of those competitors is ranked number one in the world for eating.
 
“I get into a cycle I do a practice contest, recover and I start fasting and I go into this contest nice and empty,” said World League Eating champ Joey Chestnut.
 
Last year he ate 55 mutton sandwiches in ten minutes. This year he crushed that record.
 
“81!!” announced Barclay.
 
“I don’t even think Joey himself thought he could do 81,” said Barclay.
 
Just minutes after he broke the record, while most wouldn’t be able to stand, Joey stood tall.
 
“I feel great,” said Chestnut.
 
Telling me it’s all about paying attention to your body.
 
“Long term my calorie intake isn’t that much more that most people it’s a lot of dieting afterwards and beforehand,” he said.
 
The crowd was left amazed, but also ready to see if the record will be broken next year.
 
“Oh, if somebody pushes me I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” said Chestnut.
 
The runner up, Geoffrey Esper, finished with 53 mutton sandwiches. Third place winner, Gideon Oji, at 52.5. It was a close race for those two but no one came close to the champ.
 
(This article was originally published May 12, 2018)