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Competitive Eaters Destroy Pickle-Eating World Record in Pompano

Tara Nieuwesteeg
Pat Bertoletti put down nearly six pounds of pickles for the win.
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.

Florida was well-represented too, with pro eaters Hall "Hoover" Hunt (ranked eighth in the world) and Sean "Wrecking Ball" Brockert (ranked 37th in the world) competing too.

Tara Nieuwesteeg
Sonya Thomas can down some pickles. She says she's single, guys.
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.

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Michael J. Mooney

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