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Las Vegas man munches his way to world popcorn eating crown

It was a gluttonous and romantic Sunday afternoon on the Beer Park patio, culminating with Las Vegas resident Matt Stonie being crowned as the World Popcorn Eating Champion, and two other competitive eaters getting engaged.

Stonie consumed more than 28, 24-ounce boxes of popcorn in eight minutes to claim his title. That bit of unbuttered bravado came after Nick Wehry defeated two challengers by consuming 50 hard-boiled eggs in three minutes and four seconds, and championship chugger Eric “Badlands” Booker demonstrated his ability to consume a gallon of fountain soda in under a minute.

The three extraordinary exhibitions of ingestion were all part of the DraftKings Red Carpet Film Feast, paying tribute to the movies on Oscars day.

Things got underway just after 3 p.m. on the rooftop patio at Paris Las Vegas, with Booker outpacing Derek Hendrickson in a two-man race to consume two 64-ounce jars of fountain soda.

“Soda is definitely harder than other beverages because, ah man, you gotta deal with the carbonation,” Booker said after the contest, during which he let out a couple of well-timed belches.

That was followed by competitive eaters Michelle Lesco, Matt Hazzard and Nick Wehry paying tribute to the 1967 film “Cool Hand Luke” by racing to see who could consume 50 hard-boiled eggs in the shortest period. Wehry emerged victorious, putting Paul Newman’s Luke Jackson (who required an hour to complete the feat in the film) to shame.

After his contest, as he was being interviewed by championship eater Miki Sudo, Wehry got down on one knee to propose to her. Sudo, a former Las Vegas resident who is pregnant with Wehry’s child, said “yes.”

With the preliminaries and a proposal out of the way, the main event pitted the world’s top-ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut against second-ranked Geoff Esper and Las Vegas resident Stonie, who holds a world record for eating 255 Peeps in five minutes. Stonie emerged victorious.

“I put a lot of hours into this,” the new champ said of his training regimen. “I was eating lots of popcorn to get prepared.”

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

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