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2016 Boysenberry Pie Eating Contest at Knott’s Berry Farm

By on 03/20/2016

This weekend was the 2nd Annual Boysenberry Pie Eating Contest at Knott’s Berry Farm. Competitive eaters from all over the country descended on the park to try and eat their way to victory. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut became the world’s first Boysenberry Pie Eating Contest champion last year during the inaugural event at The Farm. He inhaled fourteen pounds of pie (that’s seven whole pies) in just 8:00 minutes! He returned this year to defend his title. This event is held during the annual Boysenberry Festival at Knott’s, so it’s like getting a bonus at an already awesome party!

The venue for the Boysenberry Pie Eating Contest was the Calico Stage. The had spots setup for 10 contestants:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

The event is overseen by Major League Eating, the official sanctioning body of competitive eating. Diamond Dave was the host/judge/referee for the event:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Just like most professional sports, competitive eaters are ranked and there is an official leader board for everyone involved in the the sport. Some of the highest ranked competitive eaters in the world showed up for this event, including a husband and wife team, Carlene & Rich LeFevre. They are ranked 33rd and 14th in the world, respectively:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

The number one ranked woman in the world, and 3rd ranked overall, Miki Sudo was also there to take her shot at the crown. Don’t let her small size fool you, as she has consumed 104 hard-boiled eggs in just 8:00 minutes:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut was back to defend his title. He’s currently ranked 2nd in the world and holds over 30 world records in competitive eating. He was the man with the target on his back:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

The rules are simple. You have 8:00 minutes to eat as much pie as you can, both crust and filling. It’s served two 1/2-lb slices at a time, with people behind ensuring they never run out of pie. You can’t dunk the pie in water, but you can use water to wash it down. If you puke, you’re out! Simple, right?

After a quick countdown, the contest was on and they started chomping:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

You don’t win a food eating contest by using utensils. You eat with your hands and shovel it into your mouth, fast! This was the defending champ’s first bite. He grabbed an entire quarter of a pie and stared shoving it into his pie hole…literally:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Miki Sudo demonstrated the same technique:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Of course, most contestants use lots of water to wash it down, so they have all that in their stomach taking up space, too:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Lots of different styles are used in this sport. Rich LeFevre liked to get close to his plate. I guess this made it easier for him since the food didn’t have to travel far to get to his mouth:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Rich’s wife Carlene used two hands, like she was eating fried chicken:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

KEEP IT DOWN! If it comes up, you go out:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

If some pie does happen to “fall out” of your mouth, you need to ensure you catch it and get it back down if you want to continue on with the contest:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Size does not matter in this sport. Some of the tiniest people eat the most food. This was the biggest guy who competed last year and this year. I don’t think he did well. Every time I looked over at him, he either wasn’t eating or was going very slow, and he didn’t look well:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Steve Hendy, the 15th ranked eater in the world, has a very interesting style. As he eats, he contorts his body all over the place and jumps up and down a lot. I think it’s his way of getting the food to settle and/or stay down:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

When the time was up, everyone was battle worn and covered in boysenberries:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Lesley Ryder, the 34th ranked eater, had a very positive attitude after it was over, She even gave herself some boysenberry warrior markings on her face:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Once over, the official count of pie eaten was started by the officials:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Each pie plate held 1 lb of pie. Joey Chestnut had A LOT of empty plates:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

While waiting for the results, everyone was getting themselves cleaned up:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Somehow Michelle Lesco, the 8th ranked eater in the world, ended up with a huge piece of pie on her shoulder:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Miki Sudo was saying “What, it wasn’t me!” Notice her hands are covered in pie once again. I think we’ll have to go to the replay to actually see what happened:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

I have a short video of the food fight I’ll be posting up tomorrow. It’s pretty clear on who started the fight, so there’ll be no question.

Steve Hendy was the runner-up. He ate 10.25 lbs of pie and won $1000:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Joey Chestnut not only retained his title of World Boysenberry Pie Eating Contest Champion, but he also moved the bar a little bit higher for next year, setting a new world record. He ate a whopping 14.5 lbs of delicious Knott’s Berry Farm boysenberry pie in just 8:00 minutes:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Joey took home a cool $3000 prize and the coveted 2016 Knott’s Boysenberry Festival Pie Eating Champion trophy:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Here’s the official breakdown of all the money winners:

  1. Joey Chestnut – 14.5 pounds (New World Record) – $2,000 prize
  2. Steve Hendry – 10.25 pounds – $1,000 prize
  3. Miki Sudo – 9.5 pounds – $600  prize             
  4. Michelle Lesco – 9 pounds – $300 prize
  5. Tie: Rich LeFevre + Justin Mi – 8.5 pounds – $100 prize (shared)

The stage was a complete mess when it was all said and done, but the Knott’s Berry Farm staff wasted no time in jumping into action to get it all cleaned up:

2016 boysenberry pie eating contest

Here’s a video of the entire contest from start to finish:

Just a couple of hours after the event, I was in line for some of the yummy Boysenberry Festival food that’s all over the park. To my surprise, Steve Hendy was right in front of me! The dude just ate over 10 lbs of pie not even two hours prior and he was already looking for more food! The guy is an eating machine and it was very nice chatting with him:

steve hendy

That’s it! I didn’t even compete, yet I still have absolutely no desire to eat pie for awhile. This is a really fun event and if it should happen to return to Knott’s Boysenberry Festival next year, be sure to go. Heck, go to the festival anyway and hope to see the eating contest while you’re there.

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2 Comments

  1. Eric

    03/21/2016 at 5:16 pm

    14 pounds of pie [slaps forehead]. I’d need about a gallon of insulin on hand to do anything like that. But congratulations to those who participated. If you have to eat a lot of something, boysenberry pie isn’t a bad choice.

    I couldn’t help looking at the shots of Silver Bullet and Montezooma’s Revenge in the background and imagining these competitors taking a ride after the contest. But that could be messy…

  2. Steve

    03/21/2016 at 5:33 pm

    For some reason I watch the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest every year, it’s both disgusting and riveting at the same time. I would like to try some of that pie, it looks delicious….. With ice cream and a fork though. You are probably right Eric, a couple spins on silver bullet would cause boysenberry bullets.

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