In All Posts, Free Attractions on November 12, 2009 at 3:45 am

LAS VEGAS—Nov. 8, 2009—Joey Chestnut became the first-ever Martorano’s Masters Meatball Eating Champion on Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas after eating 50 meatballs in 10-minutes of Major League Eating (MLE) sanctioned competition. The 6.25 pounds of meatballs in 10-minutes set a new world record in the meatball discipline. The contest featured a star-studded field of Major League Eaters and celebrities all vying for a $1,500 first-place prize and title of Martorano’s Meatball Champion.

When asked about the key to his victory, Chestnut quickly pointed to the quality of the meatballs. “The great taste and high quality of the meatballs were evident in every bite,” said world’s #1-ranked Chestnut. “I am honored to have name my forever associated with Martorano’s world-famous meatballs.”

The competition proved to be fierce with Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti finishing a single meatball behind Chestnut’s total of 50 to finish in second place and win $750. 105-pound Sonya Thomas ate 42 meatballs to finish in third place ($500), while rookie upstart Ben Monson ate 38 meatballs to finish in fourth place and win $250. Henderson native Rich “The Locust” LeFevre came out of retirement to compete in his hometown and ate 33 meatballs to finish sixth.  

To fully honor and respect cook/owner Steve Martorano’s gourmet meatballs, Major League Eating strayed from conventional competition standards and issued a ‘utensils-only’ rule. The stipulation proved integral as it put an added premium on technique throughout the contest.

“Watching the best eaters in the world eat bowl after bowl of my meatballs was a real compliment,” said Steve Martorano. “It was very important to me that they enjoy the meatballs during the championship and I am proud my meatballs could satisfy the appetites of top Major League Eaters.”

Playboy cover model and new starlet of FANTASY in Las Vegas at the Luxor, Angelica Bridges, also competed at Martorano’s on Sunday. A crowd favorite in her competitive eating debut, Bridges ate 10 meatballs totaling more than a pound of food.

“Angelica should be very proud of herself,” said Mike Antolini of Major League Eating. “She competed in a tough field and held her own. She is always welcome to the Major League Eating table and I hope to see her again at next year’s Martorano’s Masters.”


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