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Meatball-Fueled Pandemonium at Rio

Last updated: November 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm. Posted by in Las Vegas Casinos, Las Vegas Restaurants, Rio Las Vegas, Things to Do in Las Vegas. Comments Off on Meatball-Fueled Pandemonium at Rio.

They came, they saw, they devoured! The Martorano’s Masters Meatball Eating Championship at Rio Las Vegas was an over-the-top extravaganza.

The stage was set as chefs prepared 150 pounds of meatballs.

The stage was set as chefs prepared 180 pounds of meatballs.

Steve Martorano greeted the crowd with heartfelt words and flying meatballs.

What, you expected this to be a serious affair?

What, you expected this to be a somber affair?

The best of the best in the world of competitive eating were in attendance, including Sonya Thomas (below), better known as “The Black Widow,” with 30 world records on her resume.

The Black Widow puts on her game face.

The Black Widow puts on her game face before the contest.

Soon, the contest was underway. Considered rare for extreme eating contests, the contestants had to use utensils.

The meatballs in the competition were two ounces. Typical meatballs at Martorano's are five ounces.

Insider fact, direct from the kitchen: The meatballs in the competition were two ounces. Typical meatballs at Martorano's are five ounces.

The standing-room-only crowd definitely got caught up in the feeding frenzy.

Not an empty seat, or stomach in the house. The chef passed out free meatballs to the grateful crowd.

Not an empty seat, or stomach in the house. The chef passed out free meatballs to the grateful crowd.

The eating contest lasted a gut-busting 10 minutes.

One of the crowd favorites hits the "meatball wall." We just made that term up.

One of the crowd favorites, Erik "Badlands" Booker, hits the "meatball wall." Note: We just made that term up.

Of the 2,000 meatballs prepped for the event, there were relatively few left after these fierce competitors were finished. The winner? (Drum roll, please.) The number one-ranked Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, seen below.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut earns his nickname again.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut earns his nickname again.

Chestnut devoured an astonishing 50 meatballs. (The runner-up, Pat Bertoletti, was just a single meatball away from taking down the champ!) That’s 6.25 pounds of meatballs. In 10 minutes. Wow.

To put that into perspective, Angelica Bridges (star of the Las Vegas show, “Fantasy,” and one of Maxim magazine’s “50 Sexiest Women in the World”), who also competed, stated she managed to eat just six meatballs. (Update: The official report was 10. We don’t want to start any meatball scandals.)

Angelica Bridges said, "This is the most of anything I've ever eaten in my life."

Angelica Bridges said, "This is the most of anything I've ever eaten in my life."

Learn more about Martorano’s at Rio Las Vegas, and stop by for some of the world-famous meatballs! But, you know, don’t feel obligated to knock down 50, although you may be tempted!

Update: Go here for all the official results. Watch ESPN’s coverage here.



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