Three days prior to the epic Super Bowl XLIX, WIP Sports Talk Radio in Philadelphia held Wing Bowl 23, a chicken wing eating competition sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. An estimated 20,000 spectators crammed the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Flyers and 76ers, at 6 am last Friday to watch 20 contestants speed-eat chicken wings.
But the event is more than the eating. Contestants enter on elaborate floats, accompanied by their entourage as well as Wingettes, personal cheerleaders for each competitor. And the Wingettes are loaded with logoed products that are tossed to the eager crowd. Mardi Gras styled beads, T-shirts, posters and can cooler are among the favored products. And for those lucky enough to have a lower level seat, about 75% received a free T-shirt courtesy of the event’s many sponsors.
Sponsor signage was also plentiful as they kicked in prizes for the winners, including a Harley Davidson motorcycle, two cars, a Wing Bowl champion ring valued at $7,500 and a check for $10,000. Top honors went to Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, a professional eater who downed 444 wings over the two 12 minute rounds and two-minute final sprint to the finish. He beat the defending champion, 125 lb., 5' 7" Molly Schuyler, by only four wings.
Counselor’s cameras were on the scene to check out the promo products – and people – that make the event. Click here to watch our video coverage of Wing Bowl 2015.