One of the most popular eating contests of the year is the Hot Dog Eating Contest held every Fourth of July. That’s probably where you have seen or heard the name Joey Chestnut. However, he does other contests throughout the year, including the St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship in Indianapolis every winter.
This year’s event, like everything else in 2020, will be different. There will be no fans. There won’t even be dozens of competitors. Instead, it will just be Chestnut and women’s champion Miki Sudo inside the restaurant, eating as many bowls of the spicy shrimp cocktail as they can in 20 minutes, while raising money for charities.
“We can’t eat full speed, because we’ll be indoors, and they don’t want us breathing hard,” Chestnut said with a laugh. “But we’ll be pushing pretty hard, and I’m nervous.”
That’s right. The world champ says he’s nervous. That’s because normally the contest is ten minutes long. Chestnut and Sudo will have to endure the heat and pain that comes with eating St. Elmo’s famous shrimp cocktail.
“Usually during the contest, I can kind of zone out for the ten minutes,” he said. “But this one’s going to be 20 minutes. It’s going to be really hard to ignore the heat for 20 minutes. We’re not allowed to shake it off. We have to eat the sauce on the shrimp. It’s going to be painful and beautiful at the same time.”
Chestnut says he had some of the shrimp and sauce sent to him so he can prepare and train for Saturday’s event.
As Chestnut and Sudo complete a bowl of shrimp and sauce, fans can make donations to Gleaner’s Food Bank, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital or Wheeler Mission. Varying donation levels range from $10 (equivalent to 10 cents per bowl) to $1,000 (equivalent to $10 per bowl), or any amount chosen by the donor. All proceeds raised will be divided and donated equally to the three organizations.
You’ll be able to watch the event on Saturday at 11 a.m. on either the Major League Eating Facebook page or St. Elmo’s Facebook page.