By Dale Hibler
Ten BYU students stuffed their faces and got the crevasses of their finger nails stained with tomato sauce Friday while trying to take home the honor of being the school”s top front row fanatic pizza eater.
Jacob Jenkins, 26, a senior from Pleasant Grove and majoring in business management, ate 16 slices of pizza and left with two front-row seats to Saturday”s football game against New Mexico.
Jenkins attributes his victory to certain techniques he used.
“Everyone else drank two cups of water and I didn”t drink anything,” Jenkins said. “It leaves a lot of space for food.”
The five people who ate the most pizza each received two front-row tickets to Saturday”s football game and the last five each received two-courtside tickets to Friday”s basketball game.
“The purpose of this activity is to get more drive toward athletic events and to have students be more part of the team,” said Casey Sauffer, advertising director of NewsNet and organizer of the event. “It gives students an opportunity to do something they normally wouldn”t be able to do. We originally hoped to have some football players come, but because of Saturdays game and their diets, we were not able to arrange that.”
Sauffer said Friday”s competition aimed to generate more excitement for this weekend”s sporting events.
“I heard about this event because a friend of a friend, who robbed a friend, who punched a friend, heard about this pizza eating contest and told me it was free,” said competitor Rudy Gardinetti, a visitor from Vancouver, British Columbia. “My chances of winning were probably not very good. I”m a Canadian and we are moderate by nature, whereas Americans go full out.”
Gardinetti said after the competition he wasn”t too impressed from his American competitors and learned something new about the BYU student body.
“Aside from [three others] no one really out-ate me,” he said. “Most people were in the nine to 11 pizza slice range and I ate only nine. BYU students are not like stereotypical Americans,”
Steven Christensen, a cook at Legends Grill, placed second and strategically ate his pizza with care.
“Work it, work it, work it,” Christensen said. “Drink a lot of water, and eat as fast as you can.”
Christensen ate 12 slices to hold down the second place spot.
After 15 minutes of steady eating, a few pizza eaters removed their belts to gain extra storage space.
Nate Petersen, 24, a senior, from Spokane Wash., took third in the competition by eating 11 slices.
“My strategy was to roll all of the melted cheese into a ball and then eat the crust with a lot of water,” he said.
Jenkins, who had to remove his rodeo belt buckle, said he felt pretty manly after eating two whole pizzas and dominating the competition.