Shortly after 6 a.m. Friday morning, Jonathan “Super” Squibb entered Wing Bowl 20 as the three-time defending champion. Each person in his “entourage” bore a Superman-inspired shirt and hat.
Once the introductory parade ended and the competitive eating began, Super Squibb made way for the sport’s true Superman, Takeru Kobayashi.
Over three rounds totaling thirty minutes, Kobayashi devoured 337 wings, shattering Squibb’s record of 255 set only the year before.
Take a second to think about eating 337 wings. That’s more than 11 wings per minute, or one wing every five seconds.
“Today, I don’t feel bad about losing,” Squibb said. “If I was going to lose, I was going to lose fantastically.”
Squibb broke his personal record, finishing with 271 wings, but that wasn’t even enough to stay close to Kobayashi. By the end of the first fourteen-minute round, Kobayashi already had a 20-wing lead over Squibb.
After halftime, Kobayashi’s stamina allowed him to distance himself even further.
From the start of the event, Kobayashi distinguished himself from the other 26 competitors.
During his entrance, he lifted his shirt to the audience, revealing toned, six-pack abs. At the official weigh-in, he came in at just 135 pounds.
While others, such as Wing Bowl legend and third-place finisher Bill “El Wingador” Simmons, frantically went at their wings, Kobayashi stayed calm.
For each wing, he took three bites, and moved on. After every ten, he quickly guzzle a drink of water.
Though Kobayashi maintained a machine-like approach to the competition, that didn’t keep others from looking on in awe.
At one point, Al Morganti of the WIP Morning Show, the event’s creator, exclaimed, “He’s eating two at once!”
Following the event, Simmons threw his arm around Kobayashi and smiled.
“This guy, he’s the greatest, right here,” Simmons said. “It’s an honor just to be able to break bread with him.”
When Kobayashi wasn’t filling his stomach, which by the end of the event looked closer to a pregnant woman’s than that of the man who had entered just an hour before, there was more excitement to be had.
Many of the entrance floats called for Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Andy Reid’s termination in creative ways. One had a built in guillotine that cut off the head of a Reid doll, while another competitor, Rick the Manager, dressed up like Reid.
In addition, 125 “Wingettes,” women dressed in bikinis or lingerie, competed to be “Wingette of the Year.” Nicole took the title — and a new Harley Davidson motorcycle.
But, at the end of the day, it all came back to Kobayashi.
Once the final totals were tallied, Angelo Cataldi, the event’s host, declared, “We will never see another performance like this.”
Kobayashi then excited the crowd by promising that he’d return next year to attempt to eclipse his own record.
Indeed, every Superman has an antagonist, even if it is himself.