I came, I ate, I failed terribly.

On Thursday, August 8, I headlined an eating competition called The Great American Eat Off. I went head-to-head against the host herself, Gail Kasper, who has traveled all across the country searching for some of the best competition in the country.

When I received word that I was asked to compete, I was hesitant at first, but once I learned that I'd be raising awareness to help local sheltered animals, I was 100 percent game.

As the director counted down, "3...2...1...action!" I readied myself for a night of over-indulging and good eats down at Greasy Luck in New Bedford. It was the story of David and Goliath, as Gail vs. Gazelle was officially underway. A 235-pound man up against a very fit and skinny talk show host who was about to shock everybody in the room.

The food made its way from the kitchen to the table and it was at that very moment that I knew I was in trouble. A giant bowl of buffalo chicken mac and cheese (large enough to share between two people) and a very hearty cheeseburger with a basket of steakhouse fries was what I had to conquer. I'm pretty sure I began sweating just looking at all the food I had to devour.

I picked up my fork and I began diving right into the mac and cheese, shoveling it into my mouth as if I haven't eaten for months. Little by little, the bottom of the bowl became visible as the pasta was consumed. Bite by bite, the burger got smaller and smaller. Every time I opened my mouth, I slowed down, starting to lose my grip on the reality of the competition.

Just around 11 minutes in, I threw in the white towel and hit the bell to verify I was finished. This was all that was left:


Next at bat was Gail, and she looked a little unsure about how much food she had to eat, as long as it was more than the amount that I consumed.

The time had hit just around the 30-minute mark and Gail had already well-surpassed my meek accomplishment, leaving me in complete embarrassment and awe. The crowd cheered her on and social media was buzzing, supporting her on her last bite of the night. She took her bite, chewed and hit the bell to complete her session.

This was all that was left:


She had completely dominated the competition, leaving me in the dust and taking home the gold. As fun and friendly of a competition it was though, the bigger focus was on the awareness of animal adoption from Lighthouse Animal Shelter in New Bedford.

All four of us–Al from 24 Auto Group, Anthony from Semi-Pro Football Troy City Titans, Gail and myself–each had an adoptable dog that we showcased (Sansa, Midnight, Jesse and Max, respectively) from Lighthouse.

I had a great time overall, but I'm finally putting my eating competition days in the past. I'm a bloated mess today, but it was worth the pain to raise a little bit of awareness for all adoptable animals out there.


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