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The Sounds of Competitive Eating

Tara Nieuwesteeg
Pickle Champ Pat Bertoletti
In this week's print product, the cover story is about the World Pickle Eating Championship, held last month in Pompano Beach.

As the story recounts, the event was a barrage on all the senses. But what the audience didn't hear much of was the disgusting sucking and slurping sounds of expedited biologic function. Though the champion, Pat Bertoletti, eventually downed nearly six pounds of pickles in six minutes, the sounds of mastication were drowned out by the music pumping through the speakers around the stage.

Even before the eating, as the eaters were announced, most entered the stage to theme music -- not unlike professional wrestlers.

And the variety of songs was nearly as weird as the pickle-pounding itself.

The events kicked off with announcer Mike Antolini revving up the crowd to Eminem's "Lose Yourself."

He began announcing the top-ranked eaters, and they made their entrances.

Hall "Hoover" Hunt, Major League Eating's only "faith-based" competitive eater, came out to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas, the only female competitor at the event, came on stage to AC/DC's "Back in Black."

Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, the eventual champ, had his own headphones blaring, and he says he was listening to Dillinger Four, a punk band from Minnesota.

Bob "Notorious B-O-B" Shoudt, the second-ranked eater in the world, entered to the Dropkick Murphys playing "I'm Shipping Up to Boston."

When the eating began, Matchbox 20's "How Far We've Come" started playing.

After the furious contest ended and the contestants chewed their last bits of pickle and the audience looked on in horror, the music turned to Blues Traveler: "Hook."

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Michael J. Mooney

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