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Gobble-Gobble!

Eating Pros Talk Turkey - No forks allowed.

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“It’s an eight-person rebuke to the avian flu,” boasts Rich Shea, president of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, the sponsors of the Thanksgiving Invitational this Wednesday at Artie’s Delicatessen on Broadway. Eight pro eaters will have twelve minutes to gobble a ten-pound roasted turkey, no forks allowed, for a $2,500 purse. So what’s the strategy? Eric “Badlands” Booker, a 420-pound subway conductor who won last year’s pumpkin-pie-eating contest, will go for the white meat first: “It’s very dry, and it’s going to take the most liquid to get down. That dark meat is juicy. You can just destroy dark meat.” Timothy Janus, a 170-pound day trader, thinks esophagus size, chewing rhythm, and confidence are key. “If you’re scared you’re going to get it stuck, you’re going to overchew." He’s been doing "a lot of visualization" to prepare. Booker expects a photo finish. "It ain’t like hot dogs, where you can say, ‘Oh, Kobayashi is gonna win.’ I know I can eat a whole turkey. The only reason I haven’t before is because my family would be like, ‘Save some for me, man!’"

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