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chattanooga chew chew

My day at the Krystal Square Off.
a report by Val Bromann

Yes, we drove ten hours to Chattanooga and ten hours back to Chicago to watch people eat hamburgers for eight minutes.

Yes, we are weird and wacky and insane.

Yes, it was totally worth it!

The whole event started at noon with “Free Krystals, games, etc. etc.” We had to check out of our hotel by 11 and had nowhere else to go, so we arrived around 11:30/11:45. We saw some people in Krystal Fan T-shirts so we went to scope out where we could get some. Nad and I bought red ringers that say “Official Fan of the World Hamburger Eating Championship.” Bryan got a yellow one that said “Future Champion.”

The T-shirt lady showed us where they’d be giving out free Krystals. We told her that we’d never had any before and then we’d driven the ten hours from Chicago just for the contest. She mentioned that she hated White Castles.

We went and stood in line for Krystals, where we started to determine that it seemed that we were the only people there who did not live within a 2-mile radius of the event. Are we really the only crazies in the world?

So we got our Krystals. A Krystal Lady came up and took my pic because I’d put on my t-shirt and had my burger. We told her our story about never having had a Krystal before and driving all that way. And she gave us free posters! Score! She then pointed us in the direction of the Krystal Confessional where Nad and I got a video taken of us trying our burgers for the first time (see previous entry)

Shortly after coming out, T-shirt lady came and tracked us down with another Krystal person. She asked us if we really drove all that way just for the competition. Yes, yes we did. We came, of course, to cheer on our hometown Deep Dish hero!

They kind of thought that was awesome…and then kind of gave us free V.I.P. passes. !?!?!?!?!?! WHAT?!?!?!

We were kind of totally shocked!

That basically meant that we got to go way up in front of the crowd and watch in the press area. SUPER AWESOME because that meant not only did we have great seats, but we didn’t have to worry about trying to find and save seats at all!!! And we’d be right there in the action! And maybe even get drooled on or something!

Nadia and I were seriously the giddiest little clams you would ever see in your life. EVER!

We wandered about collecting more awesome Krystal stuff. We got a free t-shirt, thunder sticks and pompoms! We watched the competitors being brought in convertibles (except for Sonya…how did she not get a convertible??) And then stood in line to get autographs but were only able to maddeningly score Joeys.

We went and tracked down the woman who gave us the passes and she let us through the ropes and told us where to go…which ended up being just us and the press. Seriously, I don’t think any of the other VIPs knew that they could come around and stand right up front…

First were the bunnettes, then the amateur competition, then the National Anthem…and then…the MAIN EVENT (only slightly delayed due to live bowling coverage…)

All the competitors were introduced…then they were off! And my oh my can they eat!!!! and eat. and eat. Actually eat is the wrong word. Consume? Devour? Absorb? Ingurgitate?

It really was the Joey, Pat, Bob show…”Humble” Bob Shoudt was mighty impressive at chowing down burgers…especially for a vegetarian


And Joey “Jaws” Chestnut was…amazing! Seriously! I don’t know where all that food goes! And then…and then…in a history making, record-shattering moment…he hit 100!!!! 100 burgers in less than eight minutes!!! Holy processed cow meat!

The Krystal Square Off was an absolutely amazing battle and ended with Joey “Jaws” Chestnut in first (103 Krystals), “Humble” Bob Shoudt in second (95 Krystals), and “Deep Dish” Pat Bertoletti in third (94 Krystals). And I can’t even begin to describe how defeated Pat looked (especially since just a few weeks ago he defeated both Joey and the great Tsunami Kobayashi at Chicken Wings).


It was an amazingly awesome contest. Those eight minutes were completely worth 20 hours in the car…

Afterwards we hung around and got pics with a couple of the eaters, including Mr. Joey Chestnut himself.

Then we went and got a picture with Pat. He asked if we’d met before and said he knew he’d seen me before. (he most likely remembers seeing our crazy selves at the Jalapeno eating contest, although we were too chicken to go up to him there). šŸ™‚ He also asked “You didn’t come here just to see me, did you?” “[yes] nono, for the whole event!”

Truth be told, the original mission of the trip was to see Kobayashi in action. But alas his jaw injury had kept him away šŸ™ Ohwellz. I am so happy that we went anyways!!!

So we let Pat go because he had to catch a plane to Chicago and we had to drive to Chicago.

And then we drove to Chicago.

And that is a very long drive. (but did I mention that it was totally worth it?)

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  • Chris
    November 1, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Great writeup and photos Val! You should totally write to both Krystal and the IFOCE and let them know about your site. It’s got tons of great pictures and you did a really good job!

  • Sadie
    November 19, 2007 at 6:47 am

    Dude! We have pretty much the same story! My sister and I have been dreaming of meeting Kobayashi forever and were sad he wasn’t at the Square Off…but I’ll be dammed if that contest wasn’t worth the drive anyway šŸ™‚

  • Hall
    November 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I hope you had a ton of fun. I know I did. Very nice writeup. I love all the awesome pics!

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