Skip to Content
07/25/12 9:41 AM EDT

Arch Rivals Joey Chestnut And Sonya Thomas Clash In Hooters Wing-Eating Championship


Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the top-ranked male and female competitive eaters in the world, will square off in the Hooters World Chicken Wing-Eating Championship in Clearwater, FL on Thursday, July 26. Officially sanctioned by Major League Eating, the event offers $15,000 in cash prizes and will take place at the original Hooters Clearwater at 2800 Gulf-To-Bay Blvd. at 7:00 p.m. The contest will be streamed live on Hooters Facebook page.

Chestnut, of San Jose, CA, is the number-one ranked world champion eater and reigning six-time July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Champion, but he has been badly beaten twice in chicken wings by Thomas of Alexandria, VA, a wing-specialist who weighs only 100 pounds. In Clearwater, they will battle cheek-to-jowl alongside nearly a dozen other top-ranked Major League Eaters from around the nation and the United Kingdom in the 10-minute all-you-can-eat championship.

"Chicken wing eating is among the most demanding and elegant disciplines in the world of sport. Sonya Thomas, with her lithe frame, dexterity and grace, was born for it and has repeatedly outmaneuvered Chestnut and other top competitors who are three times her size," said George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating. "However, Joey is hot off his July 4th win and looking to take down 'The Black Widow.'"

Joining Chestnut and Thomas at the table will be #2-ranked Major League Eater, Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti of Chicago, who holds 39 world records (the most of any eater in history) and seeks to add chicken wings to his long list of titles. Bob "Notorious B.O.B" Shoudt, the fifth-ranked eater in the world from Pennsylvania and "Lovely" Juliet Lee, Thomas' top female rival and a petite mother of two from Germantown, MD will also compete.

This April, Hooters launched a ten-city World Wing-Eating Championship tour, the first-ever circuit of its kind, to identify the best chicken wing-eaters in the world and culminate with a grand finale event in advance of National Chicken Wing Day, which is July 29. The winner from each qualifier earned his or her spot at the July 26 Championship in Clearwater where he or she will compete for the title and the glory of World Wing-Eating Champion and a cash prize of $7,500. The second through seventh place finishers will take home $3,000, $2,000, $1,000, $750, $500 and $250, respectively.

"For nearly 30 years Hooters has been known for our original, fresh never frozen, world-famous chicken wings and so it's only natural that we mark National Chicken Wing Day with a wing-eating competition and a special promotion for our loyal customers," said David Henninger, CMO, Hooters of America, LLC. "We invite all Hooters fans to stop by the original Hooters restaurant in Clearwater Florida and help us celebrate our heritage and crown the first world wing eating champion."

Hooters held qualifying events in Augusta, Ga.; St. Louis, MO; Jacksonville, Fla.; Dallas, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Oklahoma City, OK; Bay Area, CA; Detroit, MI; Miami, FL; Sacramento, CA; and Atlanta, GA.

To find your nearest Hooters location, visit