"It's kinda like an Amish barn-raising. Except with strippers." The Wing Bowl in Philadelphia began as a competitive eating contest hosted by a local radio station and has grown into an event witnessed by crowds of more than 20,000. What kind of person becomes a competitive eater? Filmmakers Joshua Camerote and Brian Dwyer followed six individuals through a variety of events on their way to the Wing Bowl, and the result is the documentary Swallow Your Pride, now available for free streaming courtesy of our friends at SnagFilms.
Frankly, the doc initially teeters between being fascinating and being repellant; it's not the most pleasant experience to watch people stuffing their faces with all manner of food items as rapidly as possible. But if you can get past that, fascinating, sometimes funny human stories emerge. One of the competitive eaters, who calls it the "sport of the common person," is married to a woman who is fighting to lose weight. Another contest participant is married to a vegetarian; she doesn't agree in principle with what her husband does, but she can live with it because she views his competitive eating as a sport, not a way of life.
The doc also covers the I.F.O.C.E. (International Federation of Competitive Eating), the self-appointed governing body of the sport, which was formed by two brothers in 1997. The organization seeks to organize, supervise, and regulate eating contests around the world, but not everybody appreciates what they do. One competitive eater says: "I don't want to eat for Wal-Mart. I want to eat for Mom and Pop." And thus a competing body is formed, the A.I.C.E. (Association of Independent Competitive Eaters). Everything leads up to the Wing Bowl.
We've embedded Swallow Your Pride below for your viewing convenience. As always: no wagering, please.