In October, Tempe12 began hosting monthly eating contests exclusively for fraternities and sororities, dubbing the series The Greek League Eating Contest. Each house sends a representative to be teamed up with one of the sexy 12 in a battle of food supremacy. The first event is taking place at Lobby's Beef Burgers and Dogs (3141 S. McClintock Ave.), where contestants will be challenged to eating a three-pound burger in the fastest time, with a 10-minute cutoff.
The winner of each month is awarded the coveted Tempe12 paddle, and for this contest the good folks at GotVape.com provided a nice assortment of vaporizers and grinders for the prizes. First place takes home an iolite vaporizer, second place wins a grinder, third place wins a lanyard.
I happen to be in a fraternity (Phi Sigma Kappa, if you're curious, the GREATEST FRATERNITY IN ALL THE LAND). A brother of mine signed me up, saying house pride was on the line. How could I say no? I may have also been influenced by the knowledge that I'd be paired up with my very own Tempe 12 model who would eat alongside me. But house pride was the main thing!
Fans of this series will remember that I attempted and spectacularly failed to complete this exact challenge several months ago. But I've gotten a lot of eating under my belt since then. I enter this contest a wiser, slightly fatter eater.
So here I am once again at Lobby's, flanked on either side by members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Pi Kappa Phi. Before me sits the dreaded three-pound burger: a full foot of steaming, greasy meat and cheese that's too tall to even stand without the help of a wooden stake. Yum.
And the Tempe 12 girls, one of whom was supposed to be my eating partner? They never came. THE GIRLS NEVER CAME!
But no matter. I've come this far without the help of a beautiful woman, and I'll continue to soldier on without one. More for me.
The judges count us down, and we're off. The burger's just like I remember: incredibly juicy, slathered with gooey cheese, and hotter than Satan's taint. I try to go as quickly as I can, but each bite is like licking a sparkler, and I keep dropping the patties because they seem to be frying my fingerprints off. I opt to eat the buns first, as I know the longer I let them sit, the more grease they'll pick up and the harder they'll be to take down later.
After two minutes I've taken town both buns and three patties, and I'm feeling good. But the man to my left, a Pi Kapp whom everyone kept calling Moose, is an eating machine. As I eat, I occasionally turn to check his progress to find he's downed another two patties. It's like watching a DVD that keeps skipping ahead scenes. The guy to my right, another SAE, seems to have just come for lunch. He nibbles on the burger daintily, savoring it as the rest of us wolf the meat down.
Two minutes later, I've downed another three patties, leaving me only three to go. But I hear a sudden rumbling amongst the crowd -- something's happening. I check to my left and almost spit up my burger: Moose is down to his last half-patty. To the cheers of his fraternity brothers, he takes his last bite at 4:50, finishing the challenge in the fastest time ever.
The three remaining contestants look at each other, each of us unsure if we even want to continue after having been so resoundingly outperformed. The guy to my right is the first to throw in the towel, giving up just moments after Moose's victory. The guy to my left continues until about the seven-minute mark before calling it quits. I, however, will not go down so easily.
I'm obscenely full, but still manage to finish off two more patties before nine minutes pass. Only a single patty and my fixings remain. I stare hopelessly at the leftover food before cheers from the crowd snap me back to reality. With thirty seconds left, I stuff the entire patty into my mouth and chew furiously. As the judge begins to count down the final ten seconds, he makes a gesture to the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles that remain. Reluctantly yet furiously I stuff them all into my mouth, swallowing just as I hear him call out "TIME!"
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I'm a meaty, greasy mess, but I'm victorious. The manager of Lobby's takes my photo and places it on the wall of fame
"You must be an athlete," he says. "I saw you hit the wall, and I've seen so many people just give up right there. But it takes the athlete mentality to push past it and keep going like you did."
What can I say? Damn proud.
Like video? You can watch the whole sordid contest online here.