Top-ranked Major League Eaters—yep, there’s a league for that—will converge on Louisville for the Wild Eggs National Pancake-Eating Championship on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m.

Competitive eater Meredith Boxberger grabs a pic with former Major League Eating champion Kobayashi.

The gut-bust, gag-reflexing event will be held at Wild Eggs’ Westport Village location at 1311 Herr Lane.

Granted, in a country that’s killing itself by eating too much and then insisting healthcare resolve the aftereffects, such competitions may appear counterintuitive. But, hey, this is America, right? Flirting with digestive disaster is worth it when money’s on the line! Still, if you’ve ever seen one these contests, you must admit, they’re pretty dang fun to watch.

Officially sanctioned by Major League Eating, the world governing body of all stomach-centric sports, the 10-minute, all-you-can-eat contest will feature some of the world’s top-ranked competitive chowhounds battling cheek-to-jowl with local challengers.

Amateurs thinking they can gut it out with the pros can register at any of the three Wild Eggs locations in Louisville (3985 Dutchman’s Lane in St. Matthews, 1311 Herr Lane in Westport Village, and 153 English Station Rd. in the Landis Lakes Towne Center) or register online at www.ifoce.com/events. Three amateurs will be chosen at random to participate in the contest.

According to Richard Shea, president of Major League Eaters, a new pancake-eating world record is likely to be set. Contestants proving fastest at cramming those carbs into their pie holes will win $2,000, $1000, $600, $250 and $150 each for first through fifth place.

Wild Eggs will prepare hundreds of its signature Big Stack Buttermilk Pancakes to be devoured at the competition.

Meredith Boxberger is a relative newcomer to the sport of competitive eating, but she’s already a veteran of several competitions, including the world famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held annually on July 4 at Coney Island. The Barrie, Ontario, waif gobbled up a respectable 21.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes, but that was less than half the 45 dogs wolfed down by women’s division winner Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas (who, I’m guessing, doesn’t weigh 100 pounds soaking wet.) Men’s division winner, Joey Chestnut, ate 68 dogs in 10 minutes.

(Just writing that made me dyspeptic.)

“The key to doing it is less about chewing and more about swallowing,” said the charming 27 year old Boxberger, who is a Little Caesar’s Pizza franchisee. “The liquid plays a big role: you dunk the hot dog buns into water, which is not the best-tasting thing, but you get it washed down.”

Much like running—which Boxberger does both to stay fit and burn away competitive eating binges—hitting the wall is a challenge competitive eaters face in cramfests.

“You do get to the point where you think you can’t take another bite of food,” she said. “But it’s really more a mental thing, so you keep going.”

Want to see her in action? Visit her website Deepfrieddiva.com.

Want to see her in Louisville? Come watch the scarf-fest next week.

And how does Boxberger plan to stuff her gob speedily with pancakes? Go back and read how she manages her hotdog buns.

“I do love pancakes, so I think I’ve been training for this my entire life,” she said. “Moisture is going to be the big problem since they tend to be heavier and drier than a hot dog bun. There will probably be some water involved.”

Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.


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