CORINTH, Miss. - It was the 25th Slugburger Festival in Corinth, Miss., but the first in which the slugburger-eating contest was part of the Major League Eating competitive circuit. That meant new rules for old-timers, and last year's champion lost to a pro.
Mat "Megatoad" Stonie of San Jose, No. 6 in MLE rankings, downed 30 buns enclosing deep-fried meat-and-soy patties in 10 minutes Saturday to win the $1,500 first prize, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/LjtjDM) reported.
There are at least five possible origins for the slugburger's name, according to a book quoted on the festival's website. Those include "slug" as slang for a nickel, the burger's original cost — and as a circular piece of cheap metal sometimes substituted for money because the burgers, which originally used starchy extenders, were seen as hamburger substitutes.
Until this year, the winner was the fastest to down six burgers. Saturday, contestants got 10 minutes and plate after plate holding five burgers — about 1.2 pounds per plate.
Last year's winner, Jeremy Smith of Corinth, told the newspaper he felt like a sprinter in a marathon.
He was one of two locals among the eight contestants.
Adrian "The Rabbit" Morgan of Baton Rouge ate 24.5 burgers, Jamie McDonald 23.7 and Juan "Juan More Bite" Rodriguez 23.5 to finish second through fourth, winning $750, $500 and $250. McDonald was the only nonprofessional to place.
Stonie was the highest-ranked eater in the contest. Morgan is ranked seventh, Kevin "LA Beast" Strahle 16th and Rodriguez 26th.
Montana Hall, director of the Mainstreet Corinth Organization, said a generous donation from the Corinth Convention and Visitor's Bureau added the contest to the 80 sanctioned by Major League Eating.
"MLE reached out to us," he said.