A 107-pound Virginia woman ate her way to a championship this weekend after she out-gulped seven males in the World Champion Barbecue Eating Contest at the Crossroads Arena.
Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas swallowed 23 barbecue sandwiches in 12 minutes to claim the title, $2,000 and the honor of wearing the WBEC champion's belt for a year.
"Sonya is the only one who can actually fit into the belt," joked David Baer, one of the announcers and director of business development for the International Federation of Competitive Eating, which sanctioned and produced the event.
Spectators were stunned by the performance of the petite winner, who never paused Friday night as she stuffed down bite after bite of wet barbecue sandwich.
And Thomas won over competitors who brought a lot more heft to the table.
Standing 6-feet-7-inches tall, 260-pound "Jammin"' Joe Larue of Miami came in second after wolfing down 16 sandwiches and walked away $500 richer.
Professional gurgitator Dale "The Mouth of the South" Boone of Atlanta was neck and neck with Thomas, but lost his chance at prize money when he became ill.
That left third place open for a local competitor, Tim "The Tornado" Robertson who claimed $250 by eating 11 sandwiches in the allotted time.
Other contestants were Matt "The Hammer" Hammond of Atlanta, John "All-Gone" Walker of Tupelo and Jimmy "Bring the Pain" Spain and Jeff "The Stuffer" Stark, both from the Corinth area.
The championship was produced in conjunction with the 13th annual Hog Wild Festival.
Thomas entered the contest with a recent victory in the World Champion Chicken Taco Eating Contest where she swallowed 43 tacos in 11 minutes. She also holds the female world record for eating 24 hot dogs in 12 minutes and for eating 68 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes.
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