• Kelly O

With Pizza Fest 2011 only a little more than one week away, competitive eaters are already making room in their stomachs for the 17" cheese pizzas that they will have to shove down their throats during the pizza competition happening on Saturday, the event's third and final night.

Last year, Owen Straw, a burly, bald semi-pro wrestler/comedian/Bill Collectors punk narrowly defeated a tall, skinny, 168 lb writer/hack in the eating competition. Ten minutes were allotted and extra-large cheese pizzas from Post Alley Pizza were to be eaten. In the final seconds of the competition, Straw put the last bits of his pie in his mouth. His fiercest competitor lost by a crust. The shirt the competitor wore into the competition: a Sub Pop LOSER t-shirt.

This year, tables are turning. Pizza Fest 2011 has wisely brought on Big Mario's to sling slices down at The Funhouse all weekend long, as well as provide the pies for the pizza eating competition. The pizza crusts are different, and the cheese is better (and richer). There are various ways to eat a Big Mario's pizza: rolled up, piled up, one-by-one, and by other rituals I would rather not disclose for training/competitive purposes.

I was last year's LOSER, and this year I'm confident about winning it. After various time trials, the average time it takes to inhale two slices of pizza clocks in around 1:15. Multiply that average by four (two slices is one-quarter of a whole pizza), with a gradual slowdown coming around the three-quarter mark, I'll be able to finish my pizza in under eight minutes.

So I'm issuing a challenge to Owen Straw: If I win, besides facing the Nelson "ha-ha" ridicule from me, he has to do anything of my choosing (nothing sexual, illegal, or physically harmful to innocent bystanders) that night on stage. He will also have to step down from competing at Pizza Fest 2012.

If he defends his title, I will attend a comedy night he's performing, and write a glowing review of it. If he has a new band, I'll write about that too. I will even let him publicly humiliate me that night on stage (come on, roast me!). Additionally, I will vow not to compete in next year's competition.

If neither of us wins, then nothing happens afterward. I guess that means we both win.


Pizza Fest 2011 is Thursday August 4 to Saturday, August 6 at The Funhouse. The pizza eating competition is on Saturday at 10pm.