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Former Wing Bowl Champ 'El Wingador' Searches For Next Great Wing Eater At Buckeye Tavern in Macungie, PA


Philly2Philly's Joe Vallee and Dennis Bakay were in Macungie on Sunday for Bill "El Wingador" Simmons' Wing Eating Contest At Buckeye Tavern

Macungie Borough was the site of a wing eating contest for the ages on Sunday. The event was touted by competitive eater Bill “El Wingador” Simmons as the search for the world’s next great wing eating superstar.

El Wingador Wing Contest Macungie

The festivities started at 11am at the Buckeye Tavern with a festival featuring live music, lots of food, $2 Coors Lights, and many vendors. The bill el wingador simmons main event kicked off just after 1pm with the contestants taking the stage. Bill Simmons was a busy man before the festivities, signing autographs and helping to coordinate this big-time event.

The judges of the contest were former  WWF superstar Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Former Flyers Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Bob “The Hound” Kelly, and Congressman Charlie Dent.  When asked whether this contest was the “craziest event” he’s ever been asked to take part of, Dent laughed and said “It was better than sitting in a dunk tank.”

Former Eagle’s linebacker Bill Bergey was introduced as the last judge to thunderous applause. Bergey then encouraged and received a boisterous  “E-A-G-L-E-S” chant from the crowd, furthermore proving that even though there’s a nasty NFL Lockout, Eagles fans won’t let their passion die.

All told, 30 contestants took on the challenge to eat as many wings possible in three rounds  amongst humid, hazy conditions.  The first two rounds were 14 minutes each, with a 10-minute break in between. The final round featured a 2-minute-all-you-can-eat grueling gourgefest.

El Wingador Wing Contest Macungie
Suffice it to say our wing eaters came out of the gates hungry and charged up during the first round. Just 10 would make it on to round two, where you could clearly see the effect of the wing consumption taking it’s toll upon our stalwarts.

I hate to be the one to say I told you so, but I had a feeling about Martin Russo, the man known as “The Rooster” (on the far left in the photo). This guy was the only competitor with the stand-up stance and had quite the momentum during rounds one and two. Although he slowed down towards the end of round two, Russo had built quite a lead. He would survive to the final round, where just five of the original 30 made it to the 2-minute finale.

As chants of “Go Rooster” were heard throughout the crowd, “The Rooster”  indeed El Wingador Wing Contest Macungiecame out on top, eating a whopping 178 wings and (in ironic fashion) he took home The Rooster Trophy.

After the contest, Martin Russo (from Whitehall Township) had this to say about his performance on Sunday.

“I actually enter a few contests for the Allentown Morning Call, and I go online to see what they have and thought it was interesting. It was on my “Life List,” and one of the things I always wanted to do was be part of a big eating contest. I remember Wing Bowl when it first started. I’m 51 years-old, so I guess I put some of these young guys to shame,” Russo laughs.”

When asked about his strategy for winning the contest, Russo’s response was simple.

“My thoughts were to try and keep everything down. There were so many wings and it was getting hot out there!”

In addition to winning the trophy, Russo’s victory also earns him a spot in next year’s Wing Bowl, which will be sometime in February 2012.

 ***Check out Joe Vallee's video clips at our Youtube Page Here***

For those who got to witness the Wing Off at Buckeye Tavern on Sunday, you got to witness history as well. Just before the final 2-minute round, El Wingador took the stage attempting to set the world record for meatballs eaten in one minute. He succeeded by eating a whopping 32 meatballs in 60 seconds, breaking the record by three meatballs.

The first time wing eating event at Buckeye Tavern was a huge success. Proceeds from Sunday’s event will benefit a youth sports facility behind Bethany Church in Lower Macungie.

And to top it off, a star was born in “The Rooster.” Perhaps, he can be the one to knock off Joey Chestnut in The Wing Bowl.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

Photos by Dennis Bakay

Don't miss Joe Vallee's video coverage of the wing eating contest on our Youtube page here

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Very special thanks to Brian Mattson- everybody's best BFF!