Two days before the Philadelphia Eagles compete in Super Bowl LII, the City of Brotherly Love gathered for a boozy, gluttonous, promo-filled pep rally.
An estimated 20,000 spectators packed the Wells Fargo Center for Wing Bowl 26, a chicken wing eating competition hosted by WIP Sports Talk Radio. Pro wrestling legend Ric Flair made his second appearance at the event, popping out of a giant Lombardi trophy while donning a custom-made Wing Bowl 26 jersey with “Nature Boy” emblazoned across the back.
Check out a photo gallery from Wing Bowl 26!
Participants made grand entrances with colorful costumes (several dressed in Eagles apparel and dog masks) and circled the stage on elaborate floats followed by their entourages. Competitors with names like Porky Balboa and The Toothless Barracuda donned white promotional T-shirts and drank from sponsor-emblazoned water bottles. The competitors’ personal cheerleaders, referred to as Wingettes, tossed logoed products of mini foam footballs, rally towels and can coolers to the crowd.
Al “Love Handles” Marnoch competed for the fourth year, being eliminated in the first round despite scarfing down 94 wings in 14 minutes. “I’m not going to beat these guys, they’re pros,” the Philly native said. “I’m here for fun. My kids love coming down, their buddies love coming down. It’s a day off and a good fundraiser for the police.”
With proceeds traditionally going to charity, Wing Bowl 26 raised $50,000 for the Philadelphia FOP Survivors Fund. Additionally, this year introduced the “First Responders” division, which was won by Philadelphia fireman Bill “Boub Hammer” Boub.
Two-time champion Molly Schuyler, the 127-pound odds on favorite, smashed her own record by downing 501 wings in just 30 minutes. Schuyler set the record before the final two minute blitz, eating 455 in the first 28 minutes. The previous record for most wings eaten was 444 (in 30 minutes) by Patrick Bertoletti at Wing Bowl 23.
As a result of her history-making win, Schuyler took home $5,000 in cash, a 2018 Hyundai Sonata and a custom Wing Bowl championship medal and ring.