OK, What is the Wing Bowl? Well, its a Philadelphia phenomenon that occurs each year on the Friday before the Super Bowl. It's 11 years old and started with a few contestants at the Franklin Plaza hotel in a chicken wing eating contest. It has evolved into a Roman circus at the First Union Center with 25 contestants, including professional eaters, who compete to eat the most chicken wings in a 30 minute period. Anywhere from 18,000 to 22,000 people watch from the stands as the eaters eat and the "Wingettes" strut their stuff. Wingettes are "helpers" for the contestants who are selected based upon their looks, shape and ability to wear a minimum of clothes.
Dennis Funaro (sixth from the left below) has been going for years and enticed Bruce Wulfsberg (third from the left) and myself to attend. Bruce, who has been known to take a dare in the past, decided to try to compete for 2003. To qualify, Bruce had to eat something gross, so he borrowed from his Norwegian heritage and ate 2 pounds of lutefisk (don't ask) and a dozen cod tongues in 5 minutes at the radio station of WIP, which sponsers the event. Though he qualified, he knew he wasn't going to win. Our goal was to be the best entourage at the show
Bruce's "gimmick" was to be the "Norseman" and all his helpers and entourage would dress up as Norsemen as well. Master builder, Howard Forvour (second from left), built a Viking longboat and the whole crew of friends and family decorated the boat and made clothing for the entourage. Participating in the event were:
(Norseman), Cyndy, Aaron, and Regan Wulfsberg with Jeff Backus.
Dennis, Maryellen, Ariana, Maya, Colin and Jesse Funaro with Matt Finley
Henry Balikov and Mary McMahon
Howard (Master Builder) and Gloria Forvour
Bill and Cathy Brown
Tom and Joan Voltaggio
Bowl day dawned and we brought the ship and entourage and were the
ones out on the floor.
It was difficult to maintain attention, with the wingettes prancing around, but our trip around the First Union Center was the highlight of the day. Bruce's wing eating was anti-climactic, even though he did wolf (wulf?) down 60 wings. He was only credited with 51 and missed the cut by 5 wings to get to the second round. The big winner was the Norseman's entourage which walked away with the Weachter Cup for best entourage in the show. We set out to do it, and we did it!
Here is Bruce with his wingettes prior to our procession
Here is most of the crew in the center of the First Union Center
Here we are on our trip around the First Union Center
Here is Bruce being interviewed during our procession
Bruce eating his wings flanked by our assigned Wingettes. No, he's not getting ready to hurl.
Some of the Wingette finalists for Miss Wing Bowl
Wingettes doing their thing...
Two wingettes waiting to go out before us