He set the world tamale-eating record here three years ago, downing 71 in a 12-minute bout on the steps of Lewisville City Hall, and even with a dozen fewer tamales last Saturday, Tim "Eater X" Janus easily out-ate the competition to claim his third tamale title.
The discontinuation of the Krystal Square Off -- apart from the Fourth of July Nathan's Hot Dog contest, it had been the largest eating event in the country -- freed top eaters like Janus and Sonya Thomas to compete here for the first time since 2007, and with them around, it was a vastly different contest. Thomas was Janus' only close competition, eating 56 tamales to his 59, both keeping a much faster pace, and cleaner placemats, than the table's other 16 eaters.
On a cooler afternoon than in past years, a crowd of hundreds waited out the light rain through the eaters' long introductions. Janus sported his usual face-paint mask, but otherwise the top eaters took to the table with a minimum of fanfare. Further down the ranks, some eaters appealed for the crowd's attention with their costumes: Colorado's Donovan Busta wore a Nacho Libre costume, and Bryan "Big Sexy" Beard came out in a giant foam cowboy hat. Kansan Steve Larson peeled off his white T-shirt just before the countdown, riding out the contest bare-chested.
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Adrian "the Rabbit" Morgan upset seventh-ranked Erik "the Red" Denmark for third place, eating 36 tamales to Denmark's 33 -- that's after judged docked Denmark for the uneaten chunks of greasy meat and cornmeal he'd dribbled across the table and mashed into the floor. Local hero Nate Biller, newly returned to North Texas after a few years in New York, was given a 32.5-tamale total after a similar subtraction for tamale detritus.
In just his second eating contest, Iowa native Aaron "A-Train" Osthoff put away a very respectable 30 tamales; 65-year-old rookie sensation Gary Klucken drove up from Waco for a 10th-place finish with 22.5.
Jump for more photos from the contest.
Check back soon for a slideshow with more photos.