There was a fierce 10-minute race Sunday night in Rockville Centre.
But the contestants weren't running laps around a track. They were eating as many chicken wings as possible in an effort to be crowned the Lord of the Wings at the the Dark Horse Tavern.
The winner of the inaugural competition, after chowing down on 32 hot chicken wings, was longtime Dark Horse patron John Musante, said Jamie Brennan, a partner at the bar.
The competition was heated. Of the eight contestants, one other also ate 32 wings but didn't eat enough meat off a few bones for them to count, Brennan said, and other contestants chowed down 31 and 30 wings.
"It was a very close competition," he said. "And a great success."
Each of the contestants paid a $25 entry fee, which Musante got to take home as a token to his appetite and his stamina.
John Janes, of East Rockaway, was hoping to take home the crown on Sunday, but his final wing count was only 30. He said that at 50 years old, he thinks he was one of the older competitors.
Janes said besides a history of being a big eater, he didn't do much to prepare.
"The problem is I'm more of a distance eater," he said. "I'm not sure about the 10 minutes. I think if I had more time I could out eat all these guys."
Brennan said this was the first of what hopefully will be many wing competitions.
Brennan said he and friend Axell Urrutia, a chef at the nearby Prime Catch Restaurant, came up with the idea for the competition "because we love the community," according to Urrutia, and because "we love wings," according to Brennan.
Brennan and Urrutia also judged a wing cook-off contest before the wing-eating contest.
Gary Breuer, a bouncer at Dark Horse and a competitor, said he prepared for the contest with a few beers because it made him hungrier.
Breuer, 27, was one of the more spirited competitors at the table, waving his hands in the air and dancing in his seat between bites.
"That was a deception of my mind," he said afterward. "I was just trying to get my mind off eating."
But despite his strategy and the fact that he ate 31 wings during the contest, Breuer could still be found sitting at the competition table after Musante had been officially knighted and crowned. He was cleaning up the last of the wings and dancing in his seat to the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."
"What?" he said. "I'm not going to let these go to waste."