By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH — Looming clouds and a light drizzle were not enough to deter the 200-person crowd gathered in downtown Corinth to watch the main eating event at Corinth’s annual Slugburger Festival: The Slugburger Eating Contest.
Eight Contestants travelled from far and wide, but ultimately it was Matt “Megatoad” Stonie who came away with the $1,500 first place prize, downing a total of 30 slugburgers in the ten minute contest. Adrian “The Rabbit” Morgan of Baton Rouge finished second with 24.5 burgers eaten, Jamie McDonald finished third with 23.7 burgers, and Juan “Juan More Bite” Rodriguez finished fourth with 23.5 burgers.
A San Jose native, Stonie has been eating competitively for around a year and a half. “I started in restaurant challenges, eat the giant burrito and get your picture on the wall, that sort of thing,” the recalls.
Stonie was only one of four professional eaters ranked by the MLE (Major League Eating) in attendance. The MLE is the governing body overseeing all professional eating competitions, 80 contests in total around the world. Stonie is ranked 6th, ahead of 7th-ranked Adrian Morgan, 16th-ranked Kevin “LA Beast” Strahle, and 26th-ranked Juan Rodriguez.
“MLE reached out to us,” says Montana Hall, director of the Mainstreet Corinth Organization. With a generous donation from the Corinth Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the MLE was able to sponsor this year’s contest as an officially sanctioned professional eating event.
A new sponsor meant new rules. Instead of being the first to finish six burgers, contestants had to clear as many plates of five burgers — about 1.2 lbs per plate– as they could in ten minutes.Contestants were not allowed to mash or dunk their food in water, and food had to be completely inside contestants mouth to be counted — No “chipmunking.”
Jeremy Smith, winner of last year’s contest, felt like he was “a sprinter in a marathon” due to the new rules. Smith reports eating slugburgers as long as he can remember — and fast.Smith was one of only two locals in the contest, which meant he was only one of two of the competitors who had ever eaten a slugburger before.
Competitor Adrian Morgan laughs, saying “I’d never even heard of one before signing up.” Jamie McDonald, the only non-professional to place, nods in agreement. “Fried foods are hard and can cut your mouth,” says McDonalds, who, along with many of the other competitors,left Corinth for the pulled pork contest held by the Rhythm and Ribs barbecue festival in Lancaster, Ohio, that takes place today. Stonie left in high spirits, saying “Remember my name, I’ll be back!”