On Sunday morning, the world record for pickle eating was 2.99 pounds in six minutes. By about 11:30 a.m., that record had been demolished.
Held at the Isle of Capri at Pompano Park, the event was part of the official Major League Eating schedule and drew local amateurs and several of the top-ranked competitive eaters in the country.
Star gurgitators (the term used in the competitive eating community, as in the opposite of regurgitation) traveled to Pompano Beach from across the land: There was Bob "Notorious B-O-B" Shoudt from Philadelphia, Pat "Deepdish" Bertoletti from Chicago, and Sonya "the Black Widow" Thomas from Virginia, all ranked in the top four.
After colorful introductions (some to theme-music, boxing style), the contestants each stood in front of a few bowls of extremely sour pickles (five pickles to a pound) and some plastic cups filled with water and Gatorade and Hawaiian Punch.
Then there was a countdown. Then there was serious pickle eating. Contestants went at it fast and furiously, each with a slightly different approach. Shoudt crushed the pickles into relish in his massive hands. Thomas broke each pickle and downed them mostly unchewed.
In the end, Bertoletti, with his bird-shimmying approach, took first, downing 5 pounds, 11.2 ounces of pickles in six minutes. He got a trophy and a check for $1,500. Thomas and Shoudt tied for second. Hunt and two other men tied for third.
It was 95 degrees.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.