Belly Buster Competitions

By Beacon Staff

On Friday, a Pennsylvania man was the first to eat the Beer Barrel Belly Bruiser: a 15-pound burger that, with toppings and a bun, came to a total weight of 20.2 pounds. When asked why he ate a burger that big, Brad Sciullo said simply, “I wanted to see if I could.” Besides making me a bit nauseous, the story made me reminisce about ridiculous food contests with my own friends and wonder, “What is it about food that makes us want to just ‘see if we can?’”

In high school, a group of my male friends learned about “the gallon challege” – a person tries to drink a U.S. gallon of milk within one hour and then hold it down for another hour without vomiting or urinating. There are also variations to the challenge, such as the “triathlon” where a competitor drinks one-third gallon of whole milk, one-third gallon of chocolate milk and one-third gallon of egg nog. The phenomena has produced plenty of Youtube video fodder (even I know strawberry milk is a bad idea), and even spawned a national contest (warning: the photos are not for the weak of stomach).

None of my friends ever succeeded. In fact, I don’t think any of them ever made much longer than 20 minutes before puking in the Albertsons parking lot.

While the milk challenge was arguably the most disgusting contest my friends chose to test their stomachs with, there were definitely others. The spicy hot wings contest at Buffalo Wild in Billings – winners get their dinner free, a picture on the wall and a t-shirt – put two male friends in tears and sent another to hug the porcelain princess. There were all-you-can eat Chinese buffets, Red Lobster shrimp feasts and Olive Garden soup and salad.

And, there was one contest, that made Sciullo’s feat all the more impressive – and disgusting – in my mind. The Fuddruckers one-pound burger challenge – another high school “event.” The goal was unimaginative: All you had to do was finish in less than an hour. I failed miserably, and felt miserable for hours afterward.

Sciullo ate the equivalent of 15 of those Fuddruckers burgers, plus a bun, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, mild banana peppers and a cup each of mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and relish. What was he (and we) thinking?