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New England Man Wins Wing Bowl By Feasting On 287 Wings

James The Bear McDonald

Eating 24 dozen chicken wings before lunch seems impossible; watching someone else do it is remarkable. James ‘The Bear’ McDonald of Granby, Conn. won Wing Bowl 21, the annual Philadelphia-based chicken wing-eating contest, by chomping down 287 chicken wings in the Wells Fargo Center on Friday morning.

McDonald knocked out three-time former champ Jonathan ‘Super’ Squib, who ate 282 wings, in the finals. A newcomer to the competition, McDonald claimed the crown and $20,000 in prize money in front of a sold-out crowd of an estimated 20,000 people. More than two dozen eaters competed for the title.

McDonald’s total wing consumption was the second-highest in the history of the competition. Japanese eating machine Takeru Kobayashi downed a record 337 wings in 2012. He elected not to participate this year.

While the focus of Wing Bowl is on the competitive eating — and occasional, projectile food reversal — the event is a spectacle of drunken sports fanatics, half-dressed babes and audacious competitors, many of whom enter the arena on elaborate floats. The combination is difficult to resist for Philadelphia sports personalities: new Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly was in attendance, as was Flyers’ Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent. Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos served as commissioner of the event, which is the creation of Philly sports talk radio station 94.1 WIP-FM.

Fans, many of whom begin pre-gaming for the 6 a.m. event in the dark, roared their approval when a contestant from Dallas wearing a Cowboys No. 9 Tony Romo jersey puked, therefore eliminating himself from the competition. The crowd also cheered whenever any females in attendance flashed their boobs, a longtime sideshow of the event.

At a price of $9.95 per prepared dozen in some restaurants, McDonald’s intake of chicken wings would have cost him $238.80. Instead, he walked away with $20,000.

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