Grimacing, gasping and heaving. You knew it was all over when Luke succumbed to the inevitable, burying his face in the black plastic bucket. Not a great time to be sporting a beard…
Unsurprisingly, Luke’s story last Sunday wasn’t unique.
What IS surprising is that in a city like Hobart where burger joints have been popping up like meerkats over the last few years, this was the very first opportunity for the wide of girth, the insatiable ones, the foolish, to test their finely honed bodies under the auspices of Hobart’s inaugural burger eating competition!
Like true athletes, did they have the hunger, both figuratively and literally? Or like a rookie, were their eyes larger than their stomachs?
The format was simple, four heats with the winners of each, and a couple of lucky losers, progressing through to the grand finale.
The early rounds were a test of pure speed eating. Three Standard burgers, to be consumed as fast as was humanly possible!
Our adjudicator and MC for the day? None other than Pilgrim and The Standard’s very own Will Priestley. He was rocking that megaphone like he was born to it! For some reason I couldn’t get the lyrics to Electric Six’s ‘Dance Commander‘ out of my head all afternoon…
Caleb – The early favourite, yet ultimately falling short. Geez he was loving those burgers though!
Sam – Sam had a crack, and that’s more than I can say when I was offered an entry form on arrival! He had more guts than most, but unfortunately those guts simply weren’t big enough!
Marco – The word ‘diet’ doesn’t appear in the powerlifter’s vocabulary. Marco put those years of disciplined training to the test, finishing in a very respectable second place.
George – With ice in his veins and a fro for the ages, George coolly put back his three burgers in quick time and with no fuss. One to watch out for!
The crowd wasn’t bad to begin with, but rapidly grew as word spread like wildfire that history was in the making!
We also got a glimpse of the bookies favourite, Nathan ‘The Immortal’ Imber. Looking a little bit concerned as he surveyed the formidable talent on display…
Ali – Our first lady to take to the stage and despite not finishing in front she was great value. A massive smile from ear to ear, all while battling the strengthening wind and the seemingly never ending factory line of Standard burgers!
Erica – The No. 1 ticket holder for this competition, Erica was smashing down the burgers, totally justifying her early interest. Second place, and a fast enough time to earn her a place in the grand final!
Joseph – Where did this dark horse come from? A surprisingly quick time taking him to the final. Scientists are still struggling to comprehend where those burgers actually went…
By this stage the wind was howling and the rains were upon us, forcing a last minute move under cover!
Priscus and Luke were the two to watch from Heat 3.
Priscus for all the right reasons. Even if he hadn’t won, with guns like that I think Will would have been too scared to deny him a place in the final anyway!
Luke for all the best reasons. Please refer to the opening image at the top of the page and BRING ON THE CHUNDER BUCKET!!!!
By this point in the competition the place was absolutely rocking! The crowd had swelled almost as fast as our competitors waistlines and the noise was simply immense. We hadn’t even got to the final yet!
In this the final heat of the day, it was a surprisingly close run affair. Nathan stepped up with confidence, bouncing on his toes and shimmying from side to side with nervous energy, while Joshua matched him burger for burger all the way to the end, only falling short by a whisker. It was a very relieved Nathan that caught his breath during the break!
My sincerest apologies if you’re reading this Dallas, but every photo of you has a great big megaphone where your head should be! You’ll have to come back next year and we’ll try again 😀
The Grand Final!!
(No, Erica hadn’t assumed her final form. That really is a Cascade Lager, drink of Coodabeen Champions and preferred beverage of all genuine burger fanatics)
The moment we had all been waiting for. The siren blarted and we were off!
No sprint this time, it was time for stamina and ultimate stomach capacity. The first to consume six, yes that’s right, SIX!! Double Standard burgers within 15 minutes.
Considering that these guys had just consumed three regular burgers at inhuman pace, I found myself lining up the camera for a prime shot of that black plastic bucket!!
It was pretty clear early on that despite Joshua’s fine heat performance, this was a contest between Joseph, Priscus and the Immortal one.
Priscus may have had the guns, but was the first to start shooting burger blanks, falling by the wayside and leaving it up to Joseph, underdog and crowd favourite, to try and create an upset.
Nathan streaked ahead in the early stages, yet tortoise-style, Joseph clawed back the lead and even seemed to take front position for the briefest of moments! Just like Luke, the crowd was going SICK!!
It’s when the pressure is on that a true champion shows his guts (thankfully not literally in this case).
Nathan’s experience, and training (yes, you heard that right…Nathan had been into the Standard earlier in the week having a practice!) paid off, ultimately taking back the lead and finishing an admirable 5½ burgers in the allotted time. I’m serious when I say this kid has a stomach like a Tardis!
Massive congratulations to Nathan ‘The Immortal’ Imber, winner of the inaugural, and most definitely not the last, Standard Burger Eating Competition for 2015!!
Meanwhile, Joseph made a not-so-unexpected beeline for that little black bucket in the corner, to the crowd’s great delight!
Nathan may have taken the title, but Joseph stole our hearts.
Many thanks to the entire crew from The Standard for putting such an awesome event, and particularly to Will Priestley for his brilliant commentary (and masterful use of the megaphone!) throughout the whole afternoon.
A round of applause should also go to the staff slaving away in the kitchen to ensure that there was a constant stream of fresh burgers making their way into the competitors gullets!
And finally, to everyone that took the time to drop by and cheer on their favourite, wasn’t it an awesome environment? We witnessed history in the making today, and when this event grows in popularity (as it inevitably will) we can all look back say,
We were there!!
If you’d like to know more about The Standard (best ‘White Collar’ burger in Hobart!!), check this out – Burger Challenge at The Standard
If you’d like to see more photos from the event (you could be famous!!), drop by the full gallery here – Photo Gallery by Andrew Strikis
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