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Burlington County Times

PALMYRA - On Friday, Mike Berger will have a wing and a prayer. Actually, he'll have a whole lot of wings and about 20,000 people to watch him eat them.

Before most people get out of bed Friday morning, Berger, 43, of Palmyra, will be attempting to cram as many chicken wings down his throat as his body can handle, while thousands of rowdy onlookers at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia guzzle beer and scream at the top of their lungs during Wing Bowl XVII.

Wing Bowl has become one of the city's more unusual traditions. Hosted by Philadelphia radio station WIP (610 AM), the event began in 1993 in a hotel with two contestants and about 150 people in the crowd.

On Friday at 6 a.m., about 20,000 fans are expected at the South Philadelphia facility to cheer on the 27 contestants, who had to perform an eating stunt to gain entry into the prestigious event.

"I'm ready," Berger said. "It's going to be tough. But I'm right there. I'm hoping to surprise some people. And if I throw up doing it, it's all the better."

Berger, a flooring contractor who goes by the name "The Eating Machine," already has proven he has an iron stomach. Berger ate 32 ounces of mayonnaise in 1 minute, 50 seconds on Angelo Cataldi's show to qualify.

"It was a pretty gross thing," Berger said. "I had failed at a sandwich-eating contest so I had to come up with something creative for the show. I like mayo. I'm not going to lie, but it was rough. I think my body went into shock."

Berger will be Burlington County's lone representative and has a chance of winning the grand prize - a 2009 Mini Clubman.

Ten of Berger's friends will be in the running for the best entourage, which will take home a grand prize of a trip to either Cancun or Punta Cana.

"That's where we think we can win," Berger said. "It's little bit of a surprise but I think we have a good chance of winning best entourage."

According to odds makers, Berger also has a shot to win Wing Bowl. Though he is just 5-foot-8 and weighs 185 pounds, he remains one of the favorites by WIP to win the competition.

Contestants range from Berger's size to as tall as Brian Corrigan of Rockledge, Pa., (6-4, 310 pounds) and as large as Doug Canavins of the Fishtown section of Philadelphia [6-2, 504 pounds].

"Realistically, I'm hoping to finish in the top eight," Berger said. "Each guy in my group, all Palmyra guys by the way, bought about 12 tickets each and I bought another 40 so we should have a pretty good fan base there to cheer us on."

The event is sold out and proceeds from the tickets will be donated to the Philadelphia Police Department through the Philadelphia Police Foundation.

"I've been to Wing Bowl before just to watch and I can tell you it's crazy," Berger said. "Winning would be a great bonus but just being in there is going to be awesome."

1)Nick Ventresca
Southampton, Pa
Chicken Caesar
Height: 5`9
Weight: 240 lbs
4 Pilgrim Pub Sandwiches in
15 minutes

2) Michael Berger
Palmyra NJ
The Eating Machine
Height: 5`9
Weight: 185
32oz of Mayo in 1min 50secs

3) Larry Norris
Woodbury NJ
Below Me
Height: 5`11
Weight: 160
5lbs of Cooked Bacon in
8 minutes

4) Steven Mangini
South Philadelphia
The Gavone
Height: 6`2
Weight: 275 lbs
1lb box of P&S Ravioli in
3 minutes

5) Arnold Atkins
Sewell NJ
Arson Arnie
Height: 5`10
Weight: 200 lbs
40 Sausages in
4 minutes

6) Jonathon Squibb
Berlin NJ
Super Squibb
Height: 6`4
Weight: 215 lbs
6lbs of Cottage Cheese in
3 minutes

7) John Tiska
South Philadelphia
Stormin Norman
Height: 6`4
Weight: 280 lbs
1 16`Pizza in
7 minutes

8) Waleed Yousef
Jenkintown, PA
Baby Walley
Height: 5`9
Weight: 165
5 WaWa wraps in 3 minutes

9) Richard Sounders
Drexel Hill
TheCheesecake Beefcake
Height: 5`7
Weight: 168 lbs
1 Frozen Cheesecake in
5 minutes

10) David Spector
Bellmawr NJ
The Acidic Jew
Height: 5`10
Weight: 300 lbs
10 Whole Lemons while playing Sax in
5 minutes

11) Nick Beam
Blackwood NJ
Pot Pie the Sailor Man
Height: 5`10
Weight: 290 lbs
2 Clancy`s Pot Pies in
2 minutes 30 secs

12) James Waxman Jr
King of Prussia
Glutieus Waximus
Height: 5`10
Weight: 280 lbs
5 Double Cheeseburgers in
3 minutes

13) Nick Kehler
Glassboro, NJ
Nick Papagorgio
Height: 5`8
Weight: 285 lbs
Wing Off 1
PJ's Haddonfield
46 Wings

14) Brian Corrigan
Rockledge, PA
Cadillac Corrigan
Height: 6`4
Weight: 310 lbs
Wing Off 2
Paddy Whacks
56 Wings

15) Joe Paul
Bellmawr NJ
Tollman Joe
Height: 6`3
Weight: 372 lbs
Only Amateur to beat El Wingador- Wing Bowl 8 Champion

16) Rick Russo
Royersford, PA
Rick the Manager
Height: 5`10
Weight: 230 lbs
4ft of Sushi in 2 minutes

17) Michael Casciano
Kutztown, PA
The Caveman
Height: 6’1
Weight: 270 lbs
Wing Off 3
Slack`s Hoagie Shack
54 Wings

18)Frank Farrell
Washington Twp., NJ
Frank De Fraud
Height: 6`1
Weight: 260
Wing Off 4
PJ Whelihans
28 large wings

19)Dan Trainor
Lincoln University, PA
Dan the Prop
Height: 6`1
Weight: 225
Wing Off 5- Barnaby`s
59 Wings

20)Richard Waertz
Philadelphia Police
Officer Beast
Height: 6`2
Weight: 250 lbs
2 Jelly Doughnuts & a cup of coffee

21) Doug Petock
Valley Forge, PA
Obi Wing
Height: 6`2
Weight: 250 lbs
Melons with skin and rinds while being punched

22) Daniel Carpino
South Philadelphia
The Big Bambino
Height: 6`1
Weight: 380 lbs
24 Ravioli in 3 minutes

23) Don James
Woolwich, NJ
Da Disposal
Height: 5`9
Weight: 340
Wing Off 6- McStew`s
50 Wings

24) Jerry Coughlan
Clifton Heights, PA
Gentleman Jerry
Height: 6’2
Weight: 375 lbs
6 Jelly Doughnuts in 2 minutes

25) Henry Goldey
South-West Philly
Hank the Tank
Height: 6`1
Weight: 320 lbs
Studio Wing Off Winner- 27 Wings

26) Richard Razzi
Schwenksville, PA
Not Rich
Height: 6’0,
Weight: 220 lbs
Wing Off 7- Trappe- 70 Wings

27) Doug Canavin
Fishtown, PA
Damaging Doug
Height: 6’2
Weight: 504 lbs

5 sliders in 5 minutes

wing odds from :


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