The Hell's Chicken Showdown of 1993
July 4th, 1993 - Buffalo, New York
I'm gunna say a name right now; take a moment to think about this person you probably think you know.
Take your time. Gather everything you know about him. Piano, long hair, from some foreign country, yeah? Yeah. Well one thing you couldn't know and probably wouldn't believe: the man ate more chicken wings in one sitting than I have ever seen consumed in my entire life. He is, perhaps, the greatest competitive eater ever to live.
HELL'S CHICKEN SHOWDOWN!
THIS IS WHITE AND AS SUCH, YOU CANNOT READ IT!
The Buffalo NY Hell's Chicken chicken wing consumption extravaganza was a competition I was determined to win in 1993. I'd practiced for months, gluttonously scarfing wings day in and day out. I was ready. I was ready to take on any challenger, best any foe. I wanted those god damn Blue Oyster Cult tickets and the glorious, majestic splendor known as the All-You-Can-Drink Beer Card. I WANTED that fucking card. The day had come; it was finally time to put my food inhalation abilities to the test.
I sat down at the official competition banquet table, eagerly anticipating the tangy spice of the Hell's Chicken chicken wing sauce. As I drifted through my thoughts in mental preparation, I heard the crowd of nearly forty spectators begin to whisper amongst themselves. I looked down the line of men seated next to me at the table: Earl Peterson, Doug Sanders, Yanni, Pat Bo-- YANNI?!? Indeed, contemporary self-taught piano virtuoso Yanni was seated at the official competition banquet table. Fresh off the release of his smash hit record In My Time. And the crowd was aware.
I myself, of course, let out a laugh that could be heard from Long Island to northern Canada. How could I have known? How could I have known the digestive fortitude of this mop-topped keyboard player?!!
One by one, steaming plates of piping hot Hell's Chicken chicken wings were brought before the zealous panel of eaters. And when the whistle blew, the 6-man row of wild wing-munching animals began to tear through said wings with reckless abandon. I ate with great fervor, cramming the meaty Hell's Chicken into my face fist-over-fist, and indeed, I managed small victory over four men that day. But the crowd wasn't concerned with myself, or even Doug Sanders. The crowd was focused on the inhuman rate at which a certain mustachioed Greek fellow was downing his well-seasoned, deep fried foodstuff.
It was quite a sight to behold; a Herculean effort, from a man who couldn't weigh more than 145 pounds. Sauce, flying everywhere...a graveyard of stripped chicken bones...a foreign man winning my Blue Oyster Cult tickets. And my All-You-Can-Drink Beer Card. All on the 4th of July. An oily tear streamed down my bulbous red cheek.
When all was said and done, the Grammy winner had consumed 194 chicken wings. I've never seen a man eat so many chicken wings. The world had never seen a man eat so many chicken wings. I was heartbroken. Furthermore, I'd always been an Andreas Vollenweider fan.
|“||Setting a new world record in the long form event, this year's undisputed Hell's Chicken Showdown champion: international modernist composer, Yanni!||”|
Downtrodden and All-You-Can-Drink Beer Cardless, I dragged my newly expanded waistline to the bar. The little room left within my massive gut was especially reserved for a stiff drink. As the bartender brought me my Miller Lite, I heard a slightly accented voice calmly catch the bartender's attention.
"I'll pick that up, Marty. And a screwdriver for me." The words were followed by the slick pass of the coveted All-You-Can-Drink Beer Card for which I had just fought. Yanni sat down on the barstool beside me.
"You are quite the eater, my friend." He smiled, curling his impeccable mustache. I glanced at him slightly.
"Thank you, Yanni. I had no idea you were so inclined yourself."
"Oh yes...In my small village of Kalamata, your Buffalo wings are considered a delicacy. And when I was with that bitch Linda Evans, she used to make them, oh, yes she did...the only good thing to come from that frigid woman..."
Marty the bartender returned with Yanni's drink. Running his fingers through his long, luscious hair, he stood and turned.
"Well I must be going my friend. You like beer, I see...you'd probably have more use for this than I."
Yanni casually placed the All-You-Can-Drink Beer Card in my hand. My mouth hung agape.
"Wow, um.. Thanks Yanni!"
"Oh no problem, friend. For I am Yanni, and regularly do this sort of thing. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Blue Oyster Cult concert to attend."
And off walked Yanni, into the sunset. One helluva guy.