Once again, we find ourselves on a winding road heading to the next confrontation. This Saturday is Chick-Fil-A of La Habra's first nugget eating contest of 2012.
The contest is special for me because I'm going in as the champion. That's not something I can say often. My specialty in competitive eating is challenges. Few contests match my skill set for eating over a long period, but this one fits the bill. It's two hours of drawn-out nugget eating.
But two things make this contest unique. The first is the creation of a separate women's division. Mary Bowers is making her nugget debut this weekend, and barring an appearance by Stephanie Torres or Jessica "The Queen of Cuisine," I expect her to take home the title.
The second factor of interest is the stacked field I face in this contest. The three contests of 2011 attracted little attention, but my 206-nugget house record is bringing eaters out of the woodwork. Frank Paulin and The Spicialist are returning for another contest. The Spicialist proved my biggest threat ever in the last competition, downing 197 nuggets before calling it quits.
John Rivera of Joshua Tree is making his contest debut at Chick-Fil-A. His strong skill enabled him to topple my Hogzilla burger record at the Route 62 Diner in Yucca Valley twice. In fact, he is their current champion at 16 patties (4 lbs). No doubt, he will do some damage this weekend.
John Kim, who participates in various Southern California eating contests, will also be present. There's also a chance we could see participation by Stephen Obar and various members of Wreckless Eating.
However, that doesn't fully describe the magnitude of the threat facing me this time out. Johnnie Excel has decided to make his debut at the nugget contest this weekend. A long awaited capacity battle between us now looms.
I won the nugget title 3 times last year, but Excel may take it all away. He holds a 9-0 record against me in eating contests. The best chance I have against Johnnie is in a long distance contest such as this, where his edges in technique and speed are minimized.
No doubt it will be a close battle in La Habra. Johnnie Excel always takes his contests seriously. I will fight hard to keep the title a fourth time, establish a new record, and finally get a win over the most dominant eater in Southern California.