On Saturday, Aug. 20, the 71st annual Los Angeles Nisei Week Japanese Festival will host the fifth annual Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship, an official Major League Eating (MLE) event featuring 100-pound eating sensation Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas.
For the event, 20 competitors, consisting of both professional MLE eaters and local amateurs, will take aim at a $5,000 cash purse. Competitors will have 10 minutes to eat as many Day-Lee Pride brand gyoza (Japanese potstickers) as possible. The event takes place at 1:30 p.m. at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) Plaza in Little Tokyo.
Ranked fifth in the world by MLE, Thomas is known for her ability to leave crowds mesmerized as she beats men over three times her size. Fresh off of her dominant performance at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Women’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Thomas will be looking to break Joey Chestnut’s world record of 231 gyoza in pursuit of her first gyoza championship. She currently holds 24 eating records.
Challenging Thomas will be top competitors from the Nathan’s hot dog contest, including Bob Shoudt (No. 4 world ranking), 2010 gyoza eating runner-up Erik Denmark (No. 7), Tim Brown (No. 8), MLE rookie sensation Matt Stonie (No. 10), local MLE star Damon Wells (No. 28), Michelle Lesco, and former Orange County Register High School Runner of the Year Stephanie Torres.
Also entered are rapper/entertainer Badlands Booker (No. 15), Kevin Ross (No. 26), Yasir Salem (No. 49), Shawn Kirby (No. 50), and 2010 amateur gyoza eating champion Chikara Omine. Competing for charity will be the 2010 Nisei Week Queen and her court. For any aspiring competitive eaters, the 20th and final spot will be auctioned off at the start of the contest.
The JACCC Plaza is located at 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles. Event sponsors include Day-Lee Foods, Chop Suey Café, and Zojirushi. Admission is free but seating is extremely limited, so arrive early. There will be plenty of standing room available.
All inquiries for event sponsorship, participation, volunteering, or attendance may be sent to event organizer Cory Hayashi at [email protected] or (714) 393-3229.
The 2011 Nisei Week Japanese Festival will take place from Aug. 13-21. For a calendar of events and volunteer information, log on to www.NiseiWeek.org or call the Nisei Week Foundation office at (213) 687-7193.