(Reuters) – The reigning queen of Washington’s annual July Fourth burger eating contest had to share her championship trophy on Friday with last year’s second place winner, as the two each ingested 34 burgers in 10 minutes.
Molly Schuyler, a mother of four from California, managed to down the 34 burgers – just one shy of her record of 35 – during the Annual Independence Burger Eating Championship hosted by local fast food chain Z-Burger.
Her annual nemesis, fellow professional eater Dan ‘Killer’ Kennedy of Pennsylvania, also scarfed down 34 burgers on Friday, placing the two in a tie.
In total, 14 of the top independent U.S. ‘professional eaters’ and local area contestants squared off to see who could stomach the most burgers in the allotted 10-minute timeframe, as they competed for $4,350 in prize money, including the grand prize of $1,750 cash.
Once the time was up, contestants still had to wait another two minutes for judges to make sure they would actually hold in the enormous volume of food ingested.
A small but enthusiastic crowd usually turns out each year to observe the annual July Fourth spectacle, as well as to indulge in a free burger afterward.
The two posed for the media after the contest, holding their shared trophy and wrapping a champion’s belt around their waists.
When asked how it felt to reach the “upper echelon” of the competition next to the reigning champion, Kennedy simply replied, “full.”
The capital city’s burger eating contest comes ahead of Nathan’s hot dog eating contest in New York on Sunday – the main competitive eating event of the July Fourth holiday.
(Reporting by Reuters TV; editing by Diane Craft)