50 eggs in an hour.
In one unforgettable scene from the movie Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman introduced the world to the phenomenon of competitive eating – and although it took a few decades to gain acceptance and popularity, its star has finally risen.
Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas of Alexandria, VA is one of the sport’s most accomplished champions, having eaten her personal record of 65 hard-boiled eggs (HBEs) in six minutes forty seconds – almost one tenth the time it took Mr. Newman’s (fictional) character. She now says she is “fairly confident” she could handle 100 in ten minutes. She also just took the crown at the 2010 Wing Eating Contest in Buffalo, NY.
After seeing the legendary Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi eat 50 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs in ten minutes on TV in 2002, Sonya was inspired – and in 2003 she got her start in competitive eating at a qualifying event in New Jersey. Sonya rose through the ranks of Major League Eating, the leading sanctioning body for eating competitions, and wasted no time establishing herself among the sport’s elite, alongside Joey “Jaws” Chestnut and Kobayashi, who held the hot dog title for almost six years.
Sonya is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest eaters, but one factor sets her apart from her peers: while many women participate in eating competitions, she is currently the only one that has risen to the sport’s highest ranks.
Sonya quickly became aware of this fact, and acknowledges that some men have a difficult time losing to a female – especially a female with Sonya’s 5’5″, 100-pound frame. For her nickname, she chose ‘The Black Widow’.
“[L]ike the female black widow spider, it is my desire to eliminate the males,” boasts Sonya on her website. “In competitive eating I want to eat more or faster than the men. I want to make boys out of them.”
But, even though she’s a champion, Sonya is not too proud to go to $.25 wing night – and put away three or four dozen wings as an appetizer
To the average patron that may be an insurmountable goal – but for The Black Widow?
“It’s nothing,” she said.
A Sample of Sonya’s Records
- Buffalo (Chicken) Wings: 5.75 lbs (of meat eaten off the bone) in 10 minutes
- Acme Oysters: 46 dozen (552) in 10 minutes
- Maine Lobsters: 11.4 pounds of Lobster meat (44 soft shell lobsters — from the shell) in 12 minutes
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: 65 in 6 minutes 40 seconds
- Downtown Atlantic Cheesecake: 11 pounds in 9 minutes
- 84 Lumber Baked Beans: 8.4 pounds in 2 minutes 47 seconds
- Zocalo’s Tacos (Soft-shell Chicken): 48 in 11 minutes
- La Costena Jalapeno Peppers: 250 1/2 in 9 minutes
- Cherrystone Clams: 26 Dozen in 6 minutes
- Crawfish: 6.5 lbs in 10 minutes