Montgomery County men battle in rib-eating contest
CHRISTIANSBURG — The competitive juices – along with rib sauce, wet naps and what many onlookers referred to as “the meat sweats” – were flowing between some of Montgomery County’s finest Monday evening.
More than 60 people gathered at Texas Roadhouse to watch the two-man teams from four local municipalities – the Christiansburg Rescue Squad, Fire Department, Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office – square off in the restaurant’s first-annual rib-eating contest.
Each team was given eight pounds of pork ribs, divided into two, four-pound containers. The fastest duo to complete the feast would not only take home the title of rib-eating champs, but would also be allowed to display the coveted Texas Roadhouse Rib Champion trophy in their office for a year.
Prior to the contest, the popular opinion had the Fire Department’s squad of Jeremy Williams and Scott Canada winning, according to restaurant manager and contest director Zach Kennedy.
The event’s sleeper, or perhaps sleepiest team, was likely the Christiansburg Rescue Squad team of Tony Simmons and his partner Scott Huehn, who spent his final minutes of contestant preparation catching a nap in a nearby car.
Christiansburg Police Department teammates Kevin Tucker and Gary Fields admitted they, too, believed the fire department duo were the favorites, but said they had put in some work to even the odds, citing their “dry run” of rib eating at the restaurant a week earlier.
The officers’ practice would soon pay off.
The contest began shortly after 6 p.m., as all eight men started their marathon at a sprinter’s pace.
As the rib bones piled up and the beads of sweat multiplied on each contestants forehead, the pace began to slow and at the 10-minute mark, no man was near clearing his plate.
That changed about 20 minutes into the contest when Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s Matthew Wilburn turned in the first empty tray of the night with a time of 23:06.
As Wilburn cheered on teammate Doug Adkins to finish, two other teams erased the sheriff’s department’s early lead.
The fire department’s Jeremy Williams and the police department’s Kevin Tucker finished with almost identical times – Williams at 25:01 and Tucker at 25:03.
Each of the three men’s fate was then fully reliant on his teammate’s munching ability.
In the end it was Fields, who used a combination of standing up and a constant wet towel to his face to power through his fourth pound of food with a time of 30: 52.
Fields said afterward that knowing his teammate Tucker had already finished helped him push through and hold down the final few bites of cold pork.
After suffering a loss in a similar eating contest last fall, he had no intention of a repeat performance, he said.
“I really didn’t want to lose,” Fields said.
But when the feast, he said he did see some losing in his future.
“Diet starts tomorrow. This was the last hoorah,” the champion said.
As for Fields’ teammate, Tucker’s feelings on winning were a little simpler.
“I feel full,” Tucker said.
Along with the trophy, the two men also won two vouchers for meals and a combined six for free entrees, which Fields said they decided to divide up amongst their fellow competitors.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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