Sophomore Guye Turner is using wings to go anywhere in the continental United States, only he’s not flying, he’s eating – chicken wings that is, and 71 of them.
Turner, who called himself “Tank” for the first-ever GWing bowl, beat 19 other contestants by eating the most buffalo-style chicken wings in two five-minute rounds at the Hippodrome Friday night.
“It was disgusting,” Turner said. “It was the worst thing I ever had to do.”
But the grand prize of roundtrip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental United States, combined with $500 gift from GW’s Dining Services Commission he earned for his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, was worth the effort, he said.
The airline tickets, which Turner said he will probably use to go to California, were supplied by Aramark and Coca-Cola. The cola company and GW’s Dining Services co-sponsored the event.
Twenty participants ate as many wings as they could in five minutes, and the top 10 contestants moved on to the final five-minute round. The eaters could wash the wings down with giant glasses of ice water, but all the meat had to be cleaned off the bone. Seven judges wearing rubber gloves walked around and determined if a wing was eaten to the bone or not. The final event rule stated “if you heave you leave.”
“Surprisingly no one threw up,” said sophomore John Loveday, a spectator.
Organizers said they weren’t sure what to expect from the first GWing bowl, but they wanted to give it the aura of a “real event,” Hippodrome Manager Oscar Jones said.
“All 20 contestants have to have nicknames and we encourage them to bring their entourages to cheer them on,” Jones said.
Freshman Andrew Bagley, a.k.a. “The Gobbler,” arrived clad in a white bathrobe, a backwards hat and sunglasses. Bagley was eliminated after eating 15 wings in the first round.
“I hate wings, so it’s OK,” Bagley said.
Sophomore Daniel Yung, known as “Ginseng Boy” for the night, came in sixth place with 55 wings, but said he could have kept going.
“I’m still hungry,” Yung said. “Those were good wings.”
Jared Levin, marketing manager for Dining Services, interviewed the contestants before they took their places. He asked them the most they had ever eaten. Although Turner’s answer was “too much to remember,” Levin said he was surprised at the amount of wings he ate.
Levin, who also had a large part in organizing the event, said he was thrilled with the turnout.
“It went over very well,” he said. “We’ll continue doing it every year until the students stop wanting it. My goal is to have it in the Smith Center within two years.”