Eddie “Bozo” Miller category

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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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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Eddie “Bozo” Miller 1908?-2008

(from Carey comment) InsideBayArea.com 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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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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First interstate competitive eater?

Don “Moses” Lerman makes the following claims in his blog:

As I reflect upon my eating carear as I said on the about Don Lerman page on my site, I invented the water technique , the first eater to use their own nick name in a contest, before that either the promoter the press or the sponser gave an eater a nickname , I change that forever!
The first eater to go out of state for a contest,the first champion to crossover to another food category, the first non Philly resident to compete in the Wing Bowl( achieving 3rd &2ndplace).

This page about Oakland, California resident Eddie “Bozo” Miller says he ate 63 apple pies at the 1961 Montana State Fair and 30 pounds of meat loaf at an undated contest in Idaho. There are probably earlier instances of eaters traveling out of state, but I have not been able to locate them.

The writer for the trivia column on creators.com was contacted by the daughter of Bozo Miller in June, who reported he was still alive despite an age of almost 100.

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How to live to be 98 on a 25,000 calories / day diet

The Guinness Book of World Records called Eddie “Bozo” Miller (born June 11, 1909) of Oakland, California the “world’s greatest trencherman” before the eating records section of that publication was excised in 1990. The 1981 edition of Guinness claims that Miller had been undefeated in eating contests since 1931, resulting in a fifty year winning streak. Despite a diet consisting of up to 25,000 calories a day (which was reflected in his former 5′ 7.5″ 280-300 pound physique), Miller turned 97 in June 2005. Miller has retired from competitive eating and currently weighs considerably less than he did during his gurgitating heyday.

Miller believes he received his nickname when his father, who travelled the country with Bozo’s mother in a vaudeville show, was performing as a clown. He married a former Princess of the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Miller worked as a restauranteur and then as a liquor distributor. Miller’s drinking ability was almost as impressive as his gastronomic feats. He once literally drank a lion under the table. Miller is an avid horse racing fan and witnessed many of the major races of the legendary horse Seabiscuit.

Eddie “Bozo” Miller’s eating records:

  • 27 2 pound chickens Trader Vic’s, San Francisco, 1963
  • 324 ravioli (first 250 in 70 minutes) Rendezvous Room, Oakland, 1963
  • 63 Dutch apple pies in an hour, 1961

It is surprising that many of the country’s greatest eaters have hailed from Northern California (the LeFevres are originally from that area.) It would be interesting if Bozo Miller and Joey Chestnut could get together and possibly do a joint interview.

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