Past Trenchermen category

The Times Tribune has an article about Phil Yazdzik of Olyphant, PA, whose eating exploits received notoriety in the 1950s.
Inside Hook has an article about "Fat Men's Clubs", popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, claiming they are the predecessors of competitive eating. In 1909, 380 pound Frank Dotzler ate 275 oysters, 8 pounds of steak, 12 rolls, 11 cups of coffee and 3 pies to win $50 in an eating contest at the Manhattan's Fat Men's Club.

Genevieve Lupini will hold a blood drive in Olyphant, PA on December 28 in honor of her late father Phil Yazdzik, who received fame in the 1950's for his eating feats.

QZ on 18th century Frenchman has an article about Tarrare, born in 1772 in Lyon, France.

By the time he was 17, he was reportedly 100 pounds (about 45 kg), and consumed a quarter of a cow’s worth of beef per day. He ran away from home and joined a freak show, where he delighted attendees by eating anything—literally anything—they gave him, which ranged from a basket of apples, dozens of eggs, and even wine corks and flints.

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A 1938 issue of Ken Magazine with an article about competitive eating is up for auction on ebay. (Nazi concentration camps are the topic of another article). Some of the feats listed are 60 eggs in 55 minutes and 42 flapjacks. (via BuyDealsP)
Today is the 100th anniversary of a New York Times article about an eating contest where the winner, Alderman Frank J. Dotzler, ate 9.25 pounds of steak, 19 rolls and 11 cups of coffee. (via @1912_NYT)
The (London, UK) Times Archive has a scan of a 1785 article eating contest about a bet between the Duke of Queensberry and Sir John Lade about who could find the biggest eater. The name of the winner is not listed, only that he won by a "pig and an apple pye".

Phil Yazdzik’s 1955 record attempts

Google News has two free articles about Phil Yazdzik’s record attempts from April 1955 where he ate 77 burgers (containing 20 pounds of meat) and 1.5 gallons of milk in 2.5 hours and 31 orders of fried chicken (his goal was 40 servings). His typical diet follows:

For breakfast he usually consumes 14 hot dogs and 2 quarts of milk. For lunch he likes 3 dozen eggs, two more quarts of milk and several pounds of cold cuts. His favorite dinner consists of four huge servings of spaghetti and meat balls.

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1970s articles on Guinness eating records

The Los Angeles Times did an article in 1972 on the eating and drinking exploits of Eddie “Bozo” Miller, called the “World’s Greatest Trencherman” by The Guinness Book of World Records which is now available for free. Part 1 | Part 2

A Chicago Tribune article from 1978 about Guinness record holders describes Lynda Kuerth breaking of the hot dog record the previous year:

Indeed, hot dogs proved the ticket. [Jimmy] Davenport gulped down 20 in 3 minutes, 33 seconds to set a new world record. Yet, uneasy is the head that wears the crown, so Davenport embarked on his quest to tighten his grip on the 1978 edition. He then halved the existing time for eating 2 1/2 pounds of shrimp. He confronted his old nemesis and bettered the time for swallowing 14 hard boiled eggs, a record held by England’s redoubtable Peter Dowdeswell. (who also is beer-drinking king). Davenport defended his titles in Baltimore, New Orleans, and finally headed for Philadelphia and Veterans Stadium, where, before 32000 witnesses, he planned to put away the frankfurter record for keeps.

How could he possibly have recognized the dangerous pretender to the throne, the slim young woman beside him, whose mysterious smile alternated between Davenport and her imposing franks. Little did he know this was the legendary Lynda Kuerth, whose name first had made news after she consumed 15 banana splits at Olivet College, Olivet, Mich. Little did Davenport know that, while he was downing his strategic pre-contest meal the night before (“to swell the stomach”), Kuerth was tossing down baked potatoes, salads, and four T-bone steaks at Jimmy’s Steak House. And when the big scoreboard clock read 3 minutes, 10 seconds, the amazing Kuerth had stolen both the hearts of the screaming crowd and the title with an astonishing 23 frankfurters.

Already Kuerth has heard rumors of 22 hot dogs eaten since, hot dogs eaten since, but she’s confident she can turn back any challenge. She modestly attributes her unique process to nothing more than cool nerves and high metabolism.

The Sports Illustrated archive has a long 1979 profile of the McWhirter brothers, co-founders of The Guinness Book of World Records which reports that Norris McWhirter personally decided that the sausages used in the hot dog record should weigh 2 ounces.

The AP reported on a 1979 event in Washington State where participants attempted to break various Guinness eating records. (No attempts were successful.)

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NY Times casts doubts on Diamond Jim Brady’s diet

(From Megamunch email) The New York Times has an article about Gilded Age railroad tycoon “Diamond” Jim Brady’s reported gastronomical feats. A typical dinner for Brady was supposedly “Three dozen oysters (the largest Lynnhavens were saved for him), a dozen crabs, six or seven lobsters, terrapin soup,” and a steak, with a dessert of “a tray full of pastries… and two pounds of bonbons.”

The reporter has difficulty believing that Brady ate like that on an everyday basis and believes that the meals he ate at various times in his life have been fused into a giant daily superfeast. He talks to Dr. Nicholas Belitsos, a Baltimore gastroenterologist who is somewhat less skeptical and claims that a stomach capacity six times greater than average, which Brady reportedly possessed, is a possibility.

The article briefly mentions Brady’s girlfriend, actress Lillian Russell, but does not report that she was about as legendary a trencherperson as Brady was. Oscar Tschirky, creator of the Waldorf salad, served the couple on several occasions and recollected that Russell was the bigger eater of the pair. She reportedly once won a diamond ring from her boyfriend by defeating him in an eating contest after removing her corset.


Proposed (and declined) 1937 clash of giants

A 1937 Pittsburgh Post Gazette article is available about a 7 foot 9 inch Korean priest challenging Robert Wadlow to an eating contest. Wadlow was 8 foot 6 inches at the time of the challenge and died three years later after he grew an additional five inches. Wadlow declined the challenge.

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“Krazy” Kevin Lipsitz retirement ceremony has a report on the retirement ceremony for “Krazy” Kevin Lipsitz held before the cannoli eating contest. A video of the ceremony is available on youtube.

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Moment of silence for Bozo Miller

The following statement appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s obituary (full version) for Eddie “Bozo” Miller earlier this year:

George Shea, chairman of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, says the organization will have a moment of silence to honor Mr. Miller at its Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island this July 4.

We will see if that is followed through with on Friday.

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Documentary about 1998 Nathan’s finals

“Footlong”, a documentary about the impact of hot dogs on American culture, can be viewed on There are two segments about the 1998 Nathan’s hot dog contest in which Hirofumi Nakajima defended his title by beating Ed Krachie: Segment #1, Segment #2 The second segment ends with a prediction that one day the 30 HDB mark will be broken.

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April 3, 1919: NY Yankee vs. ostrich pasta eating contest

(Via Babe Ruth was not the only New York Yankee outfielder of the 1910s/1920s famed for his appetite. According to

1919 – One of the most bizarre off-the-field incidents history takes place in Jacksonville, Florida. New York Yankees outfielder Ping Bodie competes against an ostrich named “Percy” in a spaghetti-eating contest! Bodie wins the competition when Percy passes out after his 11th plate of pasta.

Some accounts
have “Percy” dying after the contest.


Sports Illustrated Competitive Eating articles 1998-2002

1911 eater claims he can eat 15 lb. of turkey

In 1911, The New York Times had an article about Charles Glidden’s claim that he could eat 15 pounds of turkey and more. The full article follows after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


BB TV director’s commentary

“Beautiful” Brian has a commentary about his recent television show that focuses on the career of Ed Krachie and includes some behind the scenes information about the pre-Kobayashi IFOCE.


BB TV 2008 season debut available

The first episode of “Beautiful” Brian’s video podcast of 2008 is now on line. The guests are Mike Devito, Ed Krachie and Jill Stoler. In bits & pieces, Brian says that Krachie calls Don Lerman and Rich LeFevre mediocre eaters. Don Lerman has a response to Krachie on his blog. Krachie’s 1996 record of 22 HDB ties Lerman’s mark at his last Nathan’s contest and is 12 behind LeFevre’s personal best.

Jill Stoler has her personal 2007 highlights in competitive eating on her blog which close with being interviewed by “Beautiful” Brian.

updateThe video was taken down last evening, but has been restored on a new page

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Eddie “Bozo” Miller 1908?-2008

(from Carey comment) reports sad news:

Eddie “Bozo” Miller, a gustatory giant whose eating and drinking prowess landed him in the Guinness Book of Records, died Monday at his Oakland home. He was 99.

Miller had struggled with diabetes, a weakened heart and kidney failure, though his family said he died of natural causes.

Miller once ate 27 2-pound chickens in a row and drank two quarts of liquor in the same hour. Both feats earned him a listing by Guinness.

“I never really had indigestion,” he said in an Oakland Tribune story in November, his last public interview.

Miller was one of Oakland’s true characters. He was a bookie, gambler, horse player, fight manager and restaurant owner. But his legend was made at the dining table.

Washington Post article
(claims Miller was 89 without explanation)
SF Chronicle obituary (age not listed)

The 1974 Guinness Book of World records claims Miller was born in 1909.
HappyHopsLand has a summary of Miller’s exploits which lists his birthday as June 11, 1909

update The Wall Street Journal has an article about Miller with a quote from George Shea:

He likewise regretted not being in his prime to take on Takeru Kobayashi, the terror of the Coney Island boardwalk who has dominated hot-dog-eating contests in recent years. “He said he would have ate him under the table,” recalls Mr. Blackman.

George Shea, chairman of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, says the organization will have a moment of silence to honor Mr. Miller at its Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island this July 4.

update #2 The San Francisco Chronicle has an article about Miller which says he could be either 89 or 99.

update #3 UPI has a short article reporting Miller was 89

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1996 Nathan’s finals video

Youtube has a brief clip from the 1996 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest finals in which Ed Krachie edged out Mike DeVito, 22 hot dogs to 20.


Four guests on BB TV

Beautiful Brian announces that the first 2008 episode of his TV show will have four guests: Jill Stoler, Mike DeVito and Ed Krachie, both Nathan’s winners from the 1990s, and someone resembling Dale Boone with long hair. If Mike Devito, the former commisioner of the IFOCE, still has connections with the management of that organization, perhaps he can provide some insight on the recent dearth of contests. also 6 songs from the holiday album remixed for your listening pleasure

update the full album (10 songs) is now available.


1937 clash of the titans?

The New York Times archive reports on a proposed eating contest from 70 years ago:

Kin Fu Ki, 32-year-old Korean Buddhist priest, who is 7 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 303 pounds, plans a trip to the United States to challenge American giants to an eating contest.

Kin Fu Ki wanted to compete against 8 ft. 5 in. Robert Wadlow. The only other article about Kin Fu Ki says he eats five times as much rice as a Japanese soldier.


IFOCE tribute to Krazy Kevin

San Jose Mercury catches up with Bozo Miller

The San Jose Mercury has a new article about 99 year old Bozo Miller, listed by Guinness at the “world’s greatest trencherman” when that book had an eating records section.

No one could eat or drink like Bozo, and he took on all comers. He once ate 27 two-pound chickens in a row. He drank two quarts of liquor in an hour, chug-a-lugging each quart separately. Both feats landed him in Guinness.

Such drinking could kill a man. But everyone Bozo knew at his age, even those who observed sensible diets and drank moderately, is dead.

Bozo – no one calls him Eddie or Miller – is the last of Oakland’s true characters. When he managed to push back from the table, he was a bookie, a gambler, a fight manager and a restaurateur.

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