The RP Funding World Chili Eating Challenge

Date: 02/09/2013
Location: Orlando, FL
Winner: Joey Chestnut, Chili
Total Prizes: $3,500 total cash purse


Major League Eating's 2013 season thundered into being under the blue umbrella skies of Orlando, FL, on Saturday February 9th, as the RP Funding World Chili Eating Challenge stunned and amazed all who witnessed it. When the clock read 0:00 it was the Great One, Chestnut, with the W; at press time, he alone in the MLE Universe is 1-0 for the year. Chestnut tied his own WR in the chili discipline with a metronomic display at the table—two gallons, six minutes. (Side point: Chestnut has twice posted this total in this discipline; Eater X has also posted this total. Have we, the human race, reached the ceiling in the chili discipline? Is two gallons the maximum capacity allowed by God? Science? What does Dr. Sanjay Gupta have to say about this?)

Chestnut faced stiff competition from The Notorious BOB, Mr Bob Shoudt of Royersford, PA, who lead until the four-minute mark. Shoudt could not keep pace with Chestnut in the final stretches, however, and would yield unto him the gold. Sonya Thomas came third. Jon Bello defeated his wife, Jenny, in her MLE debut, to avoid a lifetime of embarrassment.

Contest title sponsor Robert Palmer donated $8,000—$1,000 for every 32oz bowl consumed by Chestnut—to Special Olympics Florida, and MLE thanks him for his charitable contribution. The Orlando Chili Cook-off has raised over $100,000 for local charities to date. This year's beneficiary, Special Olympics Florida, is an organization dedicated to providing free year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

1st: Joey Chestnut, 2 gallons, $1,750
2nd: Bob Shoudt, 1.81 gallons, $900
3rd: Sonya Thomas, 1.125 gallons, $500
4th: Mr Jon Bello, 0.69 gallons, $250
5th: Mike Sylvester, 0.5 gallons
5th: Bill Weller, 0.5 gallons
5th: Matt Schuermann, 0.5 gallons
8th Tom The Intern, 0.28 gallons
9th Matt Raley, 0.25 gallons
10th Mrs Jenny Bello, 0.25 gallons
10th Camisha Thomas 0.25 gallons
12th Robert Palmer 0.125 gallons

This contest took place at 2:00pm Eastern on Saturday February 9, 2013 at Orlando Festival Park, 2911 East Robinson St., Orlando, FL 32803

The Orlando Chili Cook-off event is produced by Events for Change, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that operates under a “good times for a great cause” philosophy. Tickets can be purchased at the pre-sale price of $7 ($5 off the door price) until 2/8/12 at

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*All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and fully acknowledge and understand the inherent dangers and risks associated with participating in an eating contest. The applicant further acknowledges and understands that the MLE/IFOCE coordinates with event sponsor(s) to select and approve eligible participants, and that the MLE/IFOCE shall decide, at its sole discretion, whether an applicant is eligible to participate in any eating event, and/or related activities. The MLE/IFOCE may revoke an applicant's eligibility to participate in the eating contest, or related activities, at any time, for any reason, at its sole discretion. The MLE/IFOCE and the event sponsors reserve the right, at any time, to change any and all details concerning the event, including, e.g., time, duration, location and prize structure.