Wing Bowl, the yearly early morning celebration of (equal parts) gluttony and nudity, is a well documented Philadelphia phenomenon that needs no introduction to locals and is beyond understanding for out-of-towners. Wing Bowl 23 officially kicked off at 6am on Friday, January 30th but the parking lots had been filled for hours with fans consuming copious amounts of alcohol, as is tradition. The sold-out event attracts Jabronis young and old, as well as celebrated Philly athletes (Vince Papale and Bernie Parent to name a few), strippers, porn stars, and just about everyone in between.
Wing Bowl 23 would set new records for prizes awarded, wings eaten, and least amount of naked breasts spotted on stage and in the crowd. It would seem that in 2015, the wing came before the breast (the jury is still out on the chicken and the egg). This was most surprising because the theme for Wing Bowl 23 was ‘Mardi Gras’.
Before the eating can begin, all 20+ contestants parade around the arena along with their own entourage of people (mostly made up of strippers from various gentleman’s clubs and friends and family members). This spectacle began just after 6am as as always, was rather entertaining. There were many humorous themed floats this year and the entourages threw everything from Mardi Gras beads, to boxes of Mac N’ Cheese, to hotdogs into the stands. it was pure craziness, and the fans who packed the Wells Fargo Center loved every minute of it. Of all the floats, we especially enjoyed the fake Governor Chris Christie who entered wearing a pig mask and a Dallas Cowboys scarf. He’d later take his place up in a luxury box where he was shown on the jumbo-tron Kiss Cam, getting cozy with a fake (Dallas Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones. A video of the real Chris Christie in the 94 WIP studio, attempting to sit down on a chair (that rolled out from under him) and falling on his ass was also shown to a roar of cheers and laughter. The last three to enter the arena were Patrick Bertoletti who came out dressed as Kim Jong Un, (the leader of North Korea) to a chorus of “boo”‘s, the Wing Bowl 22 defending Champion Molly Schuyler, and WWE Hall-of-Fame member and best-selling author, Mick Foley (who was competing in his first-ever Wing Bowl).
Once they all were up on the stage the eating began. The eaters had three separate rounds to eat as many wings as possible. The highlight of the 1st round was seeing Mick Foley get DQ’d for hiding wings in his fanny pack. It was hilarious watching that unfold. The 2nd round is were things started to heat up as they were down to just 10 eaters. This is where you started seeing “the meat sweats” kick in (large beads of sweat dripping from the competitors faces because they have just consumed an obscene amount of meat in a short amount of time). The meat sweats are typical of a visit to a Brazilian steakhouse. Despite looking like many of them were going to vomit, the eaters pressed on. After Round 2, Schuyler (who is just 5’7″, 125 pounds) and Bertoletti were leading the pack. They just kept devouring wings like machines at record setting pace. Heading into the 3rd round, Schuyler held a 6 wing lead.
[Article by David Miller & Zach Friedley]
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
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