Locals have chicken chowfest

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Residents devour wings to qualify for Major League Eating competition

By Marty Finley

Nick Holeman and Jay Trautwein probably won’t be tempted by chicken wings for a few days.


The two men combined to eat almost 70 boneless chicken wings in six minutes outside Colton’s Steakhouse on Sunday afternoon, qualifying for the Radcliff Days World Hard-Boiled Egg Eating Championship at City Park North on Oct. 5.

The eight-minute competition, hosted by Major League Eating, features No. 1 ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut and other professional eaters, who will attempt to break a world record. 

“That gentleman is probably going to blow me out of the water,” said Holeman of Chestnut, who scarfed down 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes in July.

Holeman won the local competition after devouring 35 wings. He said it is an honor to share a table with a legend of the sport of competitive eating such as Chestnut so young in his own career. Holeman said he hopes to glean some strategies from the multi-time champion because Sunday wasn’t his first competition: He had previously engaged a 14-patty hamburger.

“I took second in that one,” he said with a smile.

Holeman considered using dipping sauce available to all competitors but feared it may cause his throat to close. He received a $250 cash prize for winning the competition, donated by Hardin County Magistrate Doug Goodman.

Trautwein, meanwhile, is a frequent patron of Colton’s and thought the contest would be an enjoyable challenge.

“I’m feeling kind of like dinner’s going to be a little late tonight,” Trautwein said, finishing just behind Holeman in a taut thriller that left him a quarter of a chicken wing short of consuming 35. He was awarded a $25 Colton’s gift card and all competitors were given a T-shirt.

“I’m full now,” he said, laughing.

Trautwein said he loves eggs but does not believe he can compete with Chesnut and other professionals.

“I don’t know how deep I’m going to get into it,” he said. 

Six competitors entered the arena of dietary combat Sunday, using different eating techniques to tackle the trays full of wings before them. As needed, Colton’s servers refilled the wings, which were furnished by the restaurant, and most of the competitors doused the chicken with water to soften the meat.

The event was sponsored by Radcliff City Government in conjunction with WQXE radio as build-up to Radcliff Days. On-air personality Greg Milby emceed the contest and reviewed registration forms. Those who talked the most trash and showed a serious desire to win were the ones who made it to the table, he said.

“It looks like good chicken,” said local businessman John Flanagan, who served as a spectator. “They’re smiling up there.”

But as the minutes ticked down on the affair, those smiles were erased and replaced by glares of steely resolution.

“You told everyone you could eat wings,” Milby said. “This is the moment when you dig deep.”

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.