Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The above photo has nothing to do with the current post. Please excuse its presence here. I didn't have a picture of a cheesesteak handy,
This Saturday, an earthquake is shaping up in Corona, CA. The local Philly's Best is working with Johnnie Excel to set up a charity cheesesteak eating contest to benefit people living with MS. And that's cool. It's great to see competitive eaters giving back, and even greater to be a part of it.
Details are still hazy. What's in the offing, however, is the first big confrontation between Southern California's independent competitive eaters in 2012. Excel himself hasn't participated in a contest in months. His record of 7.5 steaks in 10 minutes is on the line.
Matt "Sweet Tooth" Cohen is looking to start the year strong after capturing Farrell's Ice Cream Eating Championship in 2011. Mary Bowers is looking to further her mark on the scene after debuting at the West Coast Hot Dog Eating Championship last year. Kevin Ross (with recent contest wins in wings and sushi) and "The Spicialist" are other possible contenders.
This will be my first short contest of 2012. I'm looking to use the opportunity to gauge my performance against Johnnie Excel. We clashed in 8 short-game contests last year, and Excel came out ahead every time. He's the only remaining independent eater in the area that I've never bested in a contest. So, there's a goal for 2012.
Earlier today, I also realized that Johnnie is one of the few eaters who doesn't have a nickname. I'd like to nominate the appelation "Iron Fist." Last year he had a lock (or damn strong claim) on virtually every contest he participated in. He's collected a lot of souls. Shattered a few dreams. Johnnie "Iron Fist" Excel has a certain ring to it.
On Saturday, will the "Iron Fist" swing high and crush the field? Or, will a veneer of rust allow a new cheesesteak champion to rise up?