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Geoffrey Esper wins St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Contest

(Photo courtesy Major League Eating) “Geoffrey Esper celebrates win.”

Sarah Mahannah
Connector Editor

There are thousands of types of sports in the world, some being more unique than others. One of the more unconventional sports is food-eating contests.

The world of competitive eating is more popular than some may believe. Major League Eating (MLE) has been featured on different national television programs and has gained over 300 million viewers since its start. 

One of the most famous events run by the MLE organization took place this past Saturday, Dec. 3: the St. Elmo’s Shrimp Cocktail Eating Contest. This event is held every year before the Big Ten Football Championship at the Big Ten Tailgate Town in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year was the 10th year of this contest. 

This year, world champion Joey Chestnut sought to win first place at St. Elmo’s. Chestnut had held the championship title for eight consecutive years until last year, when he was dethroned by Geoffrey Esper, and placed fourth overall. 

Esper had set a new record for the competition in 2022. He consumed 16 pounds and 6.4 ounces of the horse-radish-infused St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail in just eight minutes. Second place went to Miki Sudo, with a whopping 14 pounds and 14.4 ounces devoured. Shying right before Joey Chestnut was Nick Wehry with 11 pounds. Chestnut would only consume 10 pounds and 9.6 ounces. 

Esper went in looking to win for a second year in a row, but it would not be an easy challenge to complete. 

Chestnut was eager to take back his title. To the local news station WTHR-TV, he said, “I’m coming back. It’s my redemption year and I’m gonna do whatever it takes to win.” 

These championships gather huge crowds and awards. Not only do winners get medals, but there are some nice cash prizes.

For the St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Contest, first place gets $1,500, second place gets $750 and third place gets $400. 

The competition this year ran for an hour, and hopeful contenders came in with hungry stomachs. Fans from all over came to watch this competition. 

Besides Chestnut, some other world-famous eaters came to try to dethrone Esper. 

Sudo has won first place at the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest women’s competition every year since 2014 except in 2021. Sudo has been part of global eating competitions since 2013 when she won a pho eating contest. She is ranked third in the world of MLE and holds four world records in kimchi, wild rice hotdish, ice cream and women’s hotdog eating. 

She is married to another professional eater, Wehry. Wehry also competes at the St. Elmo Shrimp Eating Championship. He is known in the MLE for consuming a world-record 50 hard-boiled eggs in just over three minutes in 2021 at the DraftKings Red Carpet Film Fest.

The winner of the 2023 St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Contest was Esper. Esper set a new record for himself and the championship yet again by consuming 16 pounds and 11.2 ounces of the shrimp cocktail.

Coming in close at second place was Chestnut, who ate 16 pounds. Third place went to James Webb with 15 pounds. Coming in fourth place was Sudo at 12 pounds and 12 ounces. 

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